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Thread: Should I shoot more in HDR or is it just a now and then thing?

  1. #1

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    Should I shoot more in HDR or is it just a now and then thing?

    I've recently started HDR and I like it but should I do it more?

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    Lon Howard's Avatar
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    Re: Should I shoot more in HDR or is it just a now and then thing?

    This is a very good question to explore. I am still new at this but I have slowly gotten the impression from some pundits that as long as you have your tripod, HDR is almost mandatory. I can only speak for myself, but since I am still at the point where I am asking myself the very same question, I can only conclude that the answer is YES. That is because, regardless of what someone else may think, if you don't go through the process yourself and come to your own conclusion based on your own efforts, you will always have a nagging doubt, one way or the other.

    So ... what I will do is try HDR (i.e., AEB) on everything as long as I have my tripod, until I've figured it out on my own. I really don't think there are any shortcuts.

    But, if anyone knows of any, I am always willing to listen ...

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    Black Pearl's Avatar
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    Re: Should I shoot more in HDR or is it just a now and then thing?

    Bracketing your shots is not a bad habit to get into, whether you then use a single one or combine them into a HDR. This was common practice in the days of slide film as exposure was very, very critical (what you took was exactly what you got with no chance to correct it in the same way you could when you came to print a negative) and in-camera meters weren't always perfect. In those days remember it cost money to do this but with digital it costs nothing to fill up your card.

    There is another argument in that when you shoot RAW you have a fair bit of latitude afterwards to 'correct' exposure so you don't really need to bracket - I still prefer to have an image that is right to start with.

    As to the HDR bit then if you are struggling to get an image you like with detail in both the highlights and important shadow areas then yes use the HDR process to extend this range. Personally I hate images that use HDR for the sake of it and come out looking like you've tripped out on something illegal.

    HDR should be a means to an end and not a end in itself.

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    Re: Should I shoot more in HDR or is it just a now and then thing?

    I think nobody could tell you what you SHOULD do, since the only one who can decide is yourself. You should photograph what you like much more than you let others tell you what to do.

    HDR photographing is a technique which has quite some pro's and con's. Like I pointed out in the Over-used photography tricks thread HDR is a technique that ,if mastered, can really add to your photographs. Unfortunately HDR techniques are quite often used to make a photograph look dramatic when it wasn't in the first place. But no matter what, if the photograph is weak at the first place, there's no technique that can really make it into a good photograph.

  5. #5

    Re: Should I shoot more in HDR or is it just a now and then thing?

    I've recently started HDR and I like it but should I do it more?
    Noooooooooooo! Actually if HDR processing is done well it can certainly lift a photograph but I suspect you are talking about stylised application of HDR processing and that like so many other things is down to taste. For me stylised HDR always reminds me that reality to some is the inside of a PS3 game. Which is fine. It is very much a sign of the times and as such, in years to come, will be a valid reflection of a world that is struggling to come to terms with a lifestyle that is balancing real world reality and computer generated reality.

    If you like it then you should almost certainly do what gives you pleasure. From someone who has just posted an apple sporting a human eye I can not in all honesty be judgemental with respect to HDR stylised processing. But it is worth rememembering that regardless of the photographic techniques the image needs to come from the head and the heart at the same time. Converting any old shot to stylised HDR just because you can is the artistic equivalent of painting by numbers. It will indicate a certain level of technical skill but little else.

  6. #6
    Camellia's Avatar
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    Re: Should I shoot more in HDR or is it just a now and then thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by JK6065 View Post
    I think nobody could tell you what you SHOULD do, since the only one who can decide is yourself. You should photograph what you like much more than you let others tell you what to do.

    HDR photographing is a technique which has quite some pro's and con's. Like I pointed out in the Over-used photography tricks thread HDR is a technique that ,if mastered, can really add to your photographs. Unfortunately HDR techniques are quite often used to make a photograph look dramatic when it wasn't in the first place. But no matter what, if the photograph is weak at the first place, there's no technique that can really make it into a good photograph.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wirefox View Post
    Noooooooooooo! Actually if HDR processing is done well it can certainly lift a photograph but I suspect you are talking about stylised application of HDR processing and that like so many other things is down to taste. For me stylised HDR always reminds me that reality to some is the inside of a PS3 game. Which is fine. It is very much a sign of the times and as such, in years to come, will be a valid reflection of a world that is struggling to come to terms with a lifestyle that is balancing real world reality and computer generated reality.

    If you like it then you should almost certainly do what gives you pleasure. From someone who has just posted an apple sporting a human eye I can not in all honesty be judgemental with respect to HDR stylised processing. But it is worth rememembering that regardless of the photographic techniques the image needs to come from the head and the heart at the same time. Converting any old shot to stylised HDR just because you can is the artistic equivalent of painting by numbers. It will indicate a certain level of technical skill but little else.
    My friends Jeroen and Steve have said it perfectly. I've emphasised what I think are the key elements of their posts.

    Good luck with your artistic adventure.

    R

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    Re: Should I shoot more in HDR or is it just a now and then thing?

    Hi, If you like that is all that counts in the end.
    I use HDR a lot but not as you see some of the overcooked photographs on the web, I like to try and get the detail in any photograph but some use HDR software to enhance colour they try to make a not so good photo look good (if you no what I mean). Some of the new HDR software raising up now is very good and many have the presets for the natural look, HDREXPRESS and SNS-HDR (the latter being said on Flickr to be very very good for a natural look), download them free and give it a go you will never no untill you see for yourself and make your own decisions.
    Russ.

  8. #8

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    Re: Should I shoot more in HDR or is it just a now and then thing?

    HDR isn't a "type of photograph" or a particular look (measure the range of tones in any "HDR" photo and they'll be the same as a "normal" photo); rather, HDR is a technique (or set of techniques) for capturing the dynamic range of a scene that's too great to capture in a normal single exposure (so we use multiple over-lapping exposures or special filters) to allow us to capture the range.

    Most of what many folks think is HDR is what I would call over-saturated - over-sharpened - over-processed - ultra-tone-mapped "surreal" images (often produced from a single capture); these aren't actually HDR at all.

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    Re: Should I shoot more in HDR or is it just a now and then thing?

    Of course you should, if that's what you want to do. I've been shooting HDR on & off for several months. The results have varied from ghastly to fair to not bad and finally I gained an acceptance in the PSNZ National Exhibition with an HDR of an old house. You wouldn't know it was an HDR unless I told you. I think the secret with HDR is that it needs to be subtle. If people can say,'That's an HDR' you have probably failed. It's probably a bit of a fad at the moment because it is new. But given time it will become just another tool to enhance your images like all the other tools photographers have used since Fox Talbot. Does anyone remember diozachrome film? If you're interested here is my HDR set on flickr
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/barrydo...7625717190522/
    Barry

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    Re: Should I shoot more in HDR or is it just a now and then thing?

    Hi Barry,

    Great to see you're still with us

    How's that canvas portrait holding up?

  11. #11
    flipmode's Avatar
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    Re: Should I shoot more in HDR or is it just a now and then thing?

    I agree with what was stated previously...if you enjoy HDR, then by all means keep doing it. Perhaps a better question is understanding what situations call for HDR. As Colin mentioned, it is a technique and not necessarily applicable to every shot.

    Happy Shooting!

  12. #12
    Letrow's Avatar
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    Re: Should I shoot more in HDR or is it just a now and then thing?

    This reminds me of the discussion that was held about a photo submitted last year to Picture of the Year by the Danish photographer Klav Bo Christensen.

    Should I shoot more in HDR or is it just a now and then thing?
    Original RAW file converted to JPEG using the Default setting in Adobe Camera Raw. Photo: Klavs Bo Christensen

    Should I shoot more in HDR or is it just a now and then thing?
    colour, contrast and tonal enhancements

    Should I shoot more in HDR or is it just a now and then thing?
    Original RAW file converted to JPEG using the Default setting in Adobe Camera Raw. Photo: Klavs Bo Christensen

    Should I shoot more in HDR or is it just a now and then thing?


    For a discussion on this topic click here and for some comments by David Campbell click here. Nowadays contests are pretty clear about the rules of entering (e.g. National Geographic 2011 contest digital manipulation notice) and explain what kind of manipulation is allowed and what not.

    For myself I like to keep my photographs as close as possible to the original situation, but I would look at changing things such as levels, saturation, white balance and contrast in Gimp (or PS) if it improves the image. As soon as the photograph looks over-manipulated it starts to bother me though, because I also remember the real circumstances when I shot the photograph and how that looked.

    Photographs from others don't bother me as much if they are manipulated, because I wasn't there anyway, so can't compare the real image (in memory) to the resulting photograph. But it should still be a real photograph, not too obviously manipulated.

    I wonder about all the National Geographic photographs, shot on film, that I love so much. They looked pretty dramatic sometimes and how have they been processed? Was it just the film they used, the way they exposed. Questions, questions...
    Last edited by Letrow; 27th April 2011 at 10:53 AM.

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