What is HDR?
HDR or High Dynamic Range photograph is a combination of usually 3 or more of the same photograph with different exposures (under , normal & over exposed).
Why make an HDR photograph?
Most of us know that no matter how expensive or advanced our cameras may be, it wont be able to able to record all the tonal range of a scene. The aim of an HDR photograph is to show the maximum tonal range possible by combining different exposures of the same photograph.
What do we need to make an HDR?
1. A camera with full exposure controls preferably DSLR camera in this tutorial we will be using a Nikon D90 as an example.
2. Tripod – any tripod will do as long as it is sturdy enough to hold the camera steadily to avoid camera shake and ensure sharpness of the photograph.
3. Remote Shutter – I prefer using a remote shutter to ensure sharpness of the photo but you can also use your camera’s self timer.
4. HDR processing software – There are a lot of HDR processing softwares available like Adobe Photoshop, Photomatix, Nik’s HDR Effex Pro etc. you can use software you want but I personally prefer using Photomatix.
Now, let’s proceed on making our HDR.
Note: In this tutorial, the controls and menus that I’ll be mentioning will all be based on the Nikon D90 DSLR, just try to find to the similar menu and controls on your camera.
1st step: Assuming that you have framed and composed your shot, set your camera on Aperture Priority mode as shown above( A on Nikon and Av on Canon) and make sure that your exposure compensation is on 0 (you can also do this on manual mode but I believe its easier to shoot on Aperture Priority).
2nd step: Set your camera to shoot on bracket mode. I usually put my bracketing exposure to +1, 0, –1 but you can set it based on your own preference. On the D90 you can set it by pressing the button (below the flash button labeled as BKT) then turn the Shutter Speed Dial (the one at the back of the camera.
Note: You’ll know that your already on Bracketing Mode once you see the BKT symbol on the top LCD of your camera.
3rd step: After setting up your bracketing exposure and assuming that you have a remote shutter, set your camera on High burst mode then hold down the remote shutter button until it takes 3 shots.
If you do not have a remote shutter, you can use the self timer mode of your camera. Here’s how:
1. Set your camera on Self Timer mode by pressing the 2nd button on the top right button of the camera (above the AF button) and turn the Shutter Speed dial until you see a clock symbol on the top LCD screen.
2. Go to the Custom Setting Menu, option C Timers/AE Lock, go to option C3 Self Timer, set the time to the delay you want then set the Number of Shots to 3, exit out of the menu and take your shot.
4th Step: Download / transfer all the files from your camera to your computer and open the files one the HDR processing software of your choice and your done.