12.12.14 Rick's Quick Fix Friday: I teach HDR the "Right Way"

HDR is a quick fix to shooting in high contrast situations.

So get this: I go to a HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography seminar and the instructor says, "I teach HDR the right way."

Well, he had a good way of teaching, but I thought to myself, "There really is no one right way"to teach HDR.

Here are the suggestions I offer when I teach HDR on my photo workshops:

1) Capture the entire dynamic range of the scene (above). Best to use a tripod. Don't change the aperture. Bracket with your shutter speed.

2) Process your images in Photomatix. (Click here to get a 15% discount on Photomatix.)

3) In Photomatix: Move the White Point slider, Black Point slider and Lighting Adjustments sliders to the left. Then . . .

Move the White Point slider to the right until the highlights are washed out, and then move the slider back a bit - to preserve the highlights.

Move the Black Point slider to the right until the shadows are blocked up, and then move it back a bit – until you are pleased with the shadows.

To check White Point and Black Point clipping, activate the Histogram in Photomatix.

Next, move the Lighting Adjustment slider to the right until you are pleased with the image.

Keep in mind that by opening up the shadows and by toning down the highlights in HDR, your picture will look a bit flat.

As a next step (even though there are many creative adjustments in Photomatix) move your image to Lightroom or Photoshop – and do what you usually do to create artistic images. Quick tip: Adding a bit of contrast can help.

A basic photography tip: Use your camera like a spaceship. Move it up and down for creative angles. My camera was about two feet above eye level when I took the opening image for this post.

It's the colorful table tops (not vividly seen when shooting at eye level) that add to the impact of this image.

I took the railway car photograph at the South East Railway Museum – outside of Atlanta, GA during one of my workshops. Shoot me an email to get on the mailing list for my November 2015 workshop at this awesome location.

During the workshop we'll also be shooting at Old Car City - another awesome place to teach HDR "the right way."

My next HDR photography workshops are in Florida in January 2015.

I also teach HDR the "right way" in my app: Rick Sammon's iHDR. The app is packed with my favorite HDR images and lots of quick tips for making cool HDR images – indoors and outdoors.

Explore the light,