The 10 Steps Every HDR Photographer Goes Through

Step 6: Wait. Everything Doesn’t Have To Be Tonemapped and Bracketed!?

It’s true. It really is. When you come across that brick wall on an overcast day, you’ll remember all the things you used to think about regarding light and exposure and how this brick wall can easily be captured with one RAW file (heck, probably half a RAW file for that matter). You don’t need to set your camera up for a 15 bracketed exposure sequence to ‘capture the full tonal range of light’ and then almost crash Photomatix trying to cram as many files through it at one time as possible, only to get a flatter image that you then have to add detail and contrast back into to make look decent. Moving past this mindset my friends…is what progress looks like. You’d be amazed at just how much information can be stored in a single RAW file. And you don’t need to create three copies of the photo and send them through Photomatix to realize this. Programs like Lightroom are incredible tools that can pull that histogram in and bring back all the beautiful details most of the time. And hey, sometimes it’s ok to have a blown highlight of clipped shadow. It really is.

Step 7: Ok. Maybe I’ll Dabble In Other Forms Of Photography As Well

This is a big step for any HDR photographer. This is when you start refining your HDR and accept that other forms of photography are acceptable as well. Suddenly you can take a picture where all the light is captured and not feel the need to tonemap it into oblivion. You start to realize that when you do need to tonemap something you don’t have to push all those tempting little sliders to their limits. What you realize is that with everything in life, it’s best to stay away from extremes and find balance.


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