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Thread: How to create a good HDR photo?

  1. #1

    Default How to create a good HDR photo?

    Hi all,

    I've tried to search this site and the links to try to find out how to do this step by step,
    but realise they are not very beneficial to newbies (or maybe its only me ).

    Could senior members post a step by step guide? Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How to create a good HDR photo?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiordano View Post
    Hi all,

    I've tried to search this site and the links to try to find out how to do this step by step,
    but realise they are not very beneficial to newbies (or maybe its only me ).

    Could senior members post a step by step guide? Thanks!
    Search Google.. plenty of links and tutorials.. don't be lazy yah!~

  3. #3
    Senior Member giantcanopy's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to create a good HDR photo?

    A good HDR is something that is believable to the eye. ( After all i would think the initial intent of HDR is to do as such ) You probably do not need to bracket and make a 20 stop wide picture and push it so much unless you are intending to create artwork and make things as unrealistic and surrealistic which alot of ppl adopting HDR seem to like.

    Sometimes no HDR itself is beautiful. Slides have an even more limited DR but
    has been producing some wonderful work all the while

    Ryan

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How to create a good HDR photo?

    I'm into this HDR thingy too. My advice to you:

    1. Visit this excellent HDR blog www.stuckincustoms.com and be ready to be mesmerised by his great HDRs photos!

    2. Now that you're inspired but before you go shoot photos for HDRs, read his tutorial first. (Sorry, you've got to look for the link yourself.)

    3. And just when you think you're done, go buy a good book on HDR (it really helps to understand what HDRs are all about).

    4. Go get a good piece of HDR software, like Photomatix Pro, and learn how to use it. Books usually will explain.

    5. Finally, practice, practice, practice!

    HDR does NOT eliminate the need for good photo techniques. Things like exposure, composition, etc. are all still very, very important. In short, HDRs do not mask the photographers shortcomings.

    Beginers may tend to tweak HDRs too much as it is quite easy to be carried away. I think there's no need to do too much post-proc, unless a you desire a really surreal image.

    Patience and persistence are key. You may think that you have some really good photos, but when you return to merge them into HDRs, they may end up worst than keeping them as they are without HDR!

    Show us what you have on HDR and CSers be happy to C&C for you.

    ...and finally...enjoy what you do!

  5. #5

    Default Re: How to create a good HDR photo?

    HDR photos are not meant to be as real life colours. HDR provides the dynamic range and the enhanced colours thru' tone mapping. Have a look at HDRjapan for some samples.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How to create a good HDR photo?

    That stuckincustoms website has a great tutorial! Gonna have to give it a go now.

  7. #7

    Default Re: How to create a good HDR photo?

    oh dear, not stuckincustoms..

    he is one of the main producers of radioactive hdr in flickr.

  8. #8

    Default Re: How to create a good HDR photo?

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    oh dear, not stuckincustoms..

    he is one of the main producers of radioactive hdr in flickr.
    waiting for the "night86mare's official guide to HDR"...
    flickr me here ;)

  9. #9

    Default Re: How to create a good HDR photo?

    Quote Originally Posted by dreamzcape View Post
    waiting for the "night86mare's official guide to HDR"...
    ...in good time..

  10. #10

    Default Re: How to create a good HDR photo?

    thanks for the link and all advices.

    I actually did google for a few hours...most sites just show how good the HDRs are and made me drool but doesn't explain how its done.

    A couple did explain, but after following the steps, the photo still sucks..

    This is what I did:

    1. I took a few brackets on a sunset with tripod,

    2. used the photoshop to merge them

    3. The rest got a lot to with adjustments which was where I was largely lost.

    I've been told photoshop CS3 is supposed to be ask good as photomatrix...but the results was really embarassing..

    Anyhow will go and see if I could get any books on it..

    Thanks!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: How to create a good HDR photo?

    I don't understand how he uses the Layer Mask. He creates a layer mask on the HDR image, loads the dark image and the proceeds to use a paint brush on the layer mask to allow parts of the bottom layer to show through and the merges the layers.

    I have done that and got the parts I want to show through and when I attempt to merge the 2 layers, my markings with the paint brush are visible! So I get black marks all over my image...Shouldn't these disappear once you merge them?

  12. #12
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    Default Re: How to create a good HDR photo?

    Your layer mask probably has some holes that flatten to the lower layer. Or you flatten the mask only, and the transfer mode had to be adjusted again..

    Photoshop gives you more control.. but is very confusing for people who just step into it having to understand all the masking and channel adjustment! But once you get the hang of it, the possibilities are limitless!

  13. #13

    Default Re: How to create a good HDR photo?

    Just stick with Photomatix, much much simpler to achieve great results. Have patience to download trial program though.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: How to create a good HDR photo?

    I do have Photomatrix but sometimes the results are a little wonky hence I'm trying some of the techniques mentioned to fix them.

  15. #15

    Default Re: How to create a good HDR photo?

    I do use Photomatix and CS3 to tweak it.

    Photomatix I think is the best for HDR. Fast and Easy.
    But what I found is that my Photomatix has a problem with regards to RAW files.
    So usually i got to convert my raw to jpeg and then use photomatix to combine them
    Another problem is that Photomatix after combining, does have some dark exposure patches. I not sure if I am doing it right or not. So in the end I got to use CS3 to fine tune those troubled area.

    Let me know if anyone out there encounters this problem too.

    Here's a sample


  16. #16
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    Default Re: How to create a good HDR photo?

    Care to share you process? Thats a very natural looking HDR!

  17. #17

    Default Re: How to create a good HDR photo?

    Quote Originally Posted by ShyanL View Post
    Photomatix I think is the best for HDR. Fast and Easy.
    But what I found is that my Photomatix has a problem with regards to RAW files.
    So usually i got to convert my raw to jpeg and then use photomatix to combine them
    Another problem is that Photomatix after combining, does have some dark exposure patches. I not sure if I am doing it right or not. So in the end I got to use CS3 to fine tune those troubled area.
    you are using either the wrong light smoothing setting - push it all the way to the maximum..

    or lower the strength. or play around with the black/white points.

    btw, you can just open the RAW file in photomatix unless your camera raw format is incompatible. this is much more convenient than generating a few jpg files from single raw.
    Quote Originally Posted by Evilmerlin View Post
    Care to share you process? Thats a very natural looking HDR!
    i beg to differ. the building is brighter than the clouds, and it is a sunny day. even if the building is in the light, how is this possible?
    Last edited by night86mare; 1st October 2008 at 11:51 PM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: How to create a good HDR photo?

    Thanks Nightmare.

    I am using Photomatix 3.0
    However, whenever I used CR2 format and use the HDR function, I get a purple tint.
    I tried to change and play around with the settings but somehow nothing works.
    In the end, jpeg give me the best results.

    Care the share what's a good way of processing? I used CS3 merge HDR function but the picture turns out more dull then better. Maybe its really my lack of knowledge with regards to photomatix and CS3.

    Maybe if i send you the 3 raw files of the picture i take, could u try processing it to share?
    Thanks

    Shyan

  19. #19

    Default Re: How to create a good HDR photo?

    Some personal experience:
    1) Avoid scene with moving elements - these will cause problem when merging the HDR
    2) Bracket about 3-5 shots - more then this will be hard to manage - try to as large a coverage of EV as possible, but +/- 1 EV will do too.
    3) Use a tripod - for the same reason as (1) - you don't want moving elements to cause problem in merging the images
    4) When tone mapping - avoid over adjusting - the result should be natural to the eye but should have details in various exposure range - that is the purpose of doing HDR in the first place.
    5) Keep trying - experience will help you to improve over time. Readings can never replace hands on....

  20. #20

    Default Re: How to create a good HDR photo?

    would just like to ask what other HDR programs are there that are fully functional (with details enhancer) and free? Im just a student, don't want to spend money on it haha

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