How To, Take HDR Photos

For a long long time HDR photography was considered a rich mans game and that is because only the PRO body cameras were outfitted with the computational algorithms to shoot HDR brackets built into them.

When I began my journey into HDR photography a few years ago it was with an entry level DSLR and I felt the sting of this gap between the levels of cameras. The manual adjustments of exposure, aperture and ISO were extremely difficult to do without moving your camera, even with a tripod, and often you wouldn’t be able to use this method with moving objects in the frame. Where as the PRO bodies algorithm’s allowed you to shoot an entire bracket of images at the touch of a button. This is a luxury indeed and one I love on my D800 and it truly does make the whole process less of a headache. But as I show here on my mirrorless Sony RX 100 II these images can all be done manually quite quickly on your own DSLR, mirrorless and compact cameras.

The reason manual HDR bracket shooting has become easier these past few years is because the camera companies have added the ability to adjust your EV settings on the fly. 

In this video tutorial on manual HDR photography I demonstrate:

– What Mode to put your camera in

– What focus mode to use

– How to decide what Aperture, Shutter speed and ISO to use on each shot

– How to adjust your EV settings

I also demonstrate shooting a bracket of images using the most common EV values of -2EV, -1EV, 0EV, +1EV & +2EV. Whilst you can use other EV increments of 1/3 and 2/3’s, you can get a larger spectrum of light through -2 to +2. Some photographers like to go even further from  -3 to +3 but I have found that the above bracket will suit 95% of the situation you face out in the field when shooting for HDR images.

By far the most common HDR software used amongst the PRO’s is –

Photomatix PRO – Is a MAC and PC HDR software for creating stunning HDR images. They have a free trial, but if you end up buying a copy of Photomatix you can get a 15% Discount with the coupon code LukeZemePhotography

Other Filter programs can also be used to stylise your image after you have tonemapped it using Photomatix Pro. If you are after a list of filter programs to stylise your image I compiled a list of those here. A COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF HDR SOFTWARE & PLUG-INS

Video Tutorial:

Manually Shooting HDR brackets on DSLR, mirrorless and compact cameras

Once you have shot your images, you will need to process them and for that I have a


Completed Image:

Sydney-at-DawnSo hopefully you found this very helpful and that you now realise that HDR photography is less and less becoming a thing that only the rich PRO’s can do. HDR photography’s popularity is spreading at a phenomenal rate and it’s due to the higher quality of cameras being built along with improvements from software companies Photomatix.

Thanks, Luke

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