Post Processing

Take Images To The Next Level Using Powerful Post Processing Techniques

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Experienced and Beginning photographers may benefit from our HDR How to Guide that offers detailed step-by-step instructions reveals via email how to create a beautiful HDR photograph. HDR is the process of “stitching together” or “blending” of multiple images into one image. Tonal values of all three blend into the final image; this allows for insanely rich detail.

This process works best on photographs with varying light differences, where the details may be lost either in the shadows or highlights if captured with traditional methods.

Post-processing software, such as Photomatix Pro or Photoshop, allows photographers to blend numerous images seamlessly, with different exposures, into one photograph. The end result is a photograph that displays an image which is amazingly close to what we see in real life.

Imagine if you were standing in a chapel looking out toward a bright archway; your eyes would adjust to discern details both outside and inside. With a normal or “standard” exposure, photographers run the risk of losing detail especially when an image has unusually bright areas or dark shadows.

….HDR imaging allows photographers to overcome these limitations.

Do not let technical acronyms and terminology prevent you from learning a new, high-tech application. Take your camera out and give something new a try; it is surprising to discover just how easy it is. HDR imaging sets your images apart from ordinary digital photography as ordinary images transform into stunning photographs.

The more exposures you take, the better your HDR image will appear.

Photoshop can merge as few as two images or a maximum of nine images, into one great photograph. Depending upon you the size of your system, this process may take a few minutes or longer.

Bracketing Your Images

Bracketing is the term used for taking multiple images at different exposure levels. For best results, these exposures should be stair stepped with one image underexposed to capture the details in the shadows, while another should be overexposed to show the details in the highlights.

Finally, take an image with a more standard setting that captures details within the mid-range exposure, as well.

Begin with EV 0, EV -1 and EV +1 and it is vital to use a tripod during this process as any shaky movements will be detrimental to the final result of the image.

Depending upon the subject you are shooting, you can try overstepping the exposures, a bit, for a more dramatic result.

Setting the exposure to EV 0, EV -2 and EV +2 will have slightly different results than the above example.

This works well with images that have a more flat-like appearance such as a cityscape.

Experimentation is the key. With digital photography, the only thing you will lose is time; however, that time will be very well spent.

HDR How to Guide

Open the images you would like to merge in Photoshop. Choose File, New, then Automate and Merge to HDR. At this point, Photoshop will open all three files and you can begin the editing process. Depending upon your “version” of Adobe Photoshop, the options may differ slightly.

If, for example, you were working with Photoshop Elements 9, you would choose File, New, Photomerge Exposure Merge to begin the HDR imaging process. Once you are able to view the images in Adobe Photoshop, you can then select and edit other aspects such as “smart blending” and “adjust highlights” to finish your photograph to perfection. You can select the auto-defaults, as well.

There is a trade-off for merging images, as it is not completely error free. It is well known, that some loss of contrast will occur in HDR images.

Bracketing images is basically a simple process; however, do not be afraid to experiment. Playing with settings and experimentation will allow you to add your style and personality to the images you capture.

You will never know what kind of digital photography effects you can achieve unless you give it a try.

Digital photography has taken the planet by storm and HDR imaging takes it to a completely new realm. One benefit for consumers is the availability of high-end cameras, at a more affordable price. This allows everyone a chance to give HDR imaging a try.

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