HDR Photography – How To Get Seamless Image Stitching Right

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If your HDR images are not up to par and you’re wonder how to get seamless image stitching right the first time, you’re in luck. With just a little research and practice, you will be processing HDR images with great results in no time.  You will of course need a digital camera and stitching software like PT GUI (for example) with HDR imaging capabilities.

Any motion in any of the LDR or Low Dynamic Range images you take will result in an HDR image that will display motion, as well. Using a tripod is the best way to prevent images out of alignment within each bracketed set.

Even with a tripod, some images that are impossible to capture without motion.  For example a crowd, running water, moving cars etc.  Fortunately there are some high tech software tools that can remove ghosting to some extent in your post processing.  Our favorite is contained right within Photomatix Pro.  See our ‘Dealing with Ghosting‘ page for tutorials on deghosting.

When shooting  an image that requires you to reposition the camerOverlapping the bracketed images will also ensure that the HDR image will have a seamless appearance. If you do not leave enough room for the software to blend the images together, there can be visible seams within the middle of the image. The amount of overlapping that works best for your situation depends on your camera type and the HDR imaging software that you use. Overlapping from 15 to 20 percent is adequate in most cases. Experiment with your equipment to find your “sweet spot” and soon you will know which amount of overlapping works best for you.

The easiest way to accomplish a smooth transition from one frame to another is to utilize the AEB or Auto Exposure Bracketing feature; this makes taking HDR images virtually error free. Most digital cameras have an AEB feature built-in. It will vary the exposure for you on each frame and with just a click of the shutter, the camera automatically takes the images for you. Remember to stagger your exposure levels if you are manually setting the exposures. This can be done by varying your shutter speed in manual mode as well as by staggering the exposure levels while using the Aperture mode.

A digital camera that features image stabilization is a favorite among professional photographers. With the use of a remote control, you can snap the image without ever touching the camera. This is a great way of removing any motion from transferring to your image by you touching the camera during operation. If you do not own a remote control, utilize the timer function on your camera. This function, once set, will snap an image after a 10 second interval. This works very well instead of a remote control for the shutter button.

How to get seamless image stitching right may seem daunting. However, if you follow a simple workflow, it can be fun and easy. HDR or High Dynamic Range Imaging only requires the basic photographic equipment; equipment that you may already own. To ensure your HDR images have truly seamless image stitching and beautiful, rich HDR detail, take a few minutes and do some research online. Online websites geared toward digital photography and HDR imaging can help those who are learning a new technique. Digital photography has come a long way in the last decade; HDR imaging is just another aspect of digital imaging.

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  1. Apu Sista

    Hi, My name’s Apu Sista, age 53, studied at Brooks, SB, CA. Went through almost every genre of photography and about 8 years ago decided that I enjoy shooting resorts so struggled to learn about 360 photography and HDR. I switched from a D3s to a D800 and from a Manfrotto 303 to a 360 Pecision Absolute and just finished a shoot of 14 360×180 HDR images. I use a manual 16mm full frame fisheye. Also bought PTGui. Found that the spirit level on the Absolute shifts in different positions yet the images do stitch but with too many errors. 360Matthew says my workflow is wrong. I merge the tifs to HDR and then stitch. He said I should do it this way, as shown in your tutorial and that I cannot downsize the individual images. Those would be huge ‘sphericals’? So can I reduce the quality when I render? “Create Panorama”. I shoot the down shot with a boom arm on a 2nd tripod pretty accurately. Should I stitch them all together? And any other tips? Thanks much 🙂 Apu ( oh and I shoot 6 + 2 )


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