Take HDR Photographs like Professionals!

Manual HDR requires that you shoot a series of bracketed images that you then input into your HDR software. Many of the Sony interchangeable Lens Cameras have an exposure compensation wheel on the top of the camera to make it easy for you to shoot these brackets.

Some of the cameras that have this wheel are the Sony A7 and Sony A7 II, Sony A7r, Sony A7S, Sony A7rII, Sony RX1 and RX1 II, Sony RX1R and RX1R II, Sony RX10 and Sony RX10 II.

The Exposure compensation wheel looks like this:

Sony A7rii, Web Prepared


How to Shoot your Bracket of Images:

Important- This needs to be done on a tripod! and always shoot in RAW

STEP 1- Putting your camera in Aperture Priority Mode. 

You need to shoot brackets for HDR images in Aperture Priority Mode. This is very important! You can shoot it in other modes because the Exposure compensation wheel won’t adjust for other modes. I have marked Aperture priority mode with the circle around the A. Turn the wheel until the lines up with the mode line.

STEP 2- Select your aperture and ISO on camera

Next up you want to set these 2 settings on your camera- Aperture and ISO. Now these will vary depending on what kind of scene you are shooting and what results you’re looking for. Try to shoot near the centre of your lens for sharpest results i.e. f/8 and ISO 100. If you’re looking for Long exposures then adjust your aperture to fit, i.e. f/22 and ISO maybe 400. You will notice that as you adjust your Aperture the camera will automatically change your Shutter Speed?! So you are in control of the shutter speed by adjusting aperture and ISO, when in Aperture Priority Mode.

STEP 3- Select your drive mode

You need to select how you are going to take the shot. I do not recommend shooting the image by simply pressing the shutter. For the best results you want to use a shutter release cable. If you do not have a shutter release cable then the best drive mode is going to be Self-Timer. I generally use 2 seconds, as I’m always rushing from spot to spot. But you should really use Self-Timer 10 seconds.

STEP 4- Shooting your images

Fire off your 1st image on the Exposure compensation or EV wheel. Next you will need to shoot images for +1, +2, +3, -1, -2 and -3. To do this simply turn the wheel to +1 for your next shot and fire off your shutter. Do this for +2 and do all the way through the list of EV Values -3, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2, +3.

Note: Some people just like to us -3, 0, +3 but for best results shoot all 7 images.

STEP 5- Additional Shots -5EV to +5EV

The Exposure compensation wheel only goes from -3EV to +3EV, but in special circumstances this might not be enough of a dynamic range for HDR shooters. You can manually take the camera from -5EV to +5EV by going into your settings. BUT 99% of the time -3EV to +3EV will be enough RAW data.

Press the MENU button and navigate to the Camera Icon Folder at the top of the settings. Find the Exposure Comp. setting and press the centre button on your camera wheel at the back of camera. Once inside here you will be able to set any exposure comp. you want for a single frame. Select -5EV or +5EV and click Enter to get out of the settings and fire off your shot. You will have to come back into the setting each time you want to change it though.


HDR Software:

I’ve been doing HDR photography for about 4 years now so I’ve tried many of them!



Aurora HDR 2019- offers its users a complete end to end workflow within the program, since it has so many tools inside! Created by HDR guru and Macphun software Aurora HDR pro is the most advanced HDR software package on the market.



Skylum’s Aurora HDR 2019 Aurora was initially a MAC only app, but in 2017 Skylum released its much anticipated PC version and it sold millions of copies. It has stayed out on top for a reason as it simply is the best at what it does. What I personally like about it is the beautiful user interface with nice big preset preview windows. The next best thing is the speed and finally is the that it is for all photographers from beginners to pros.

Want a 15% discount? Use the code lukezeme on checkout of Skylum’s Aurora HDR 2019

Manual HDR Editing:

Many of my images I created manually using Luminosity masking techniques. These videos are for beginner to advanced and will give teach everyone something new about HDR. Jimmy is teaching stuffy that no one else is so definitely check these out! I love them!

As well as manually creating HDR images using Jimmy Mcintyre’s HDR techniques. He has a series of HDR video tutorials as well as a tool called RAYA PRO. Check out his HDR videos and tools here.

Stylisation Software:

After creating your HDR image using the software above I highly recommend some stylisation software! My favourite is

On1 Photo RAW – An amazing Filter program to stylise your images. Comes as a standalone filter program which can also be launched from Lightroom, Photoshop or Aperture.

I can’t get enough of On1 Photo RAW I use it in all of my images. I especially love their HDR Look Filter.


Thanks Guys, hope this helps. You can leave a comment or question below using google+ profile. 

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