HDR in-camera vs. post processing

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  • #49290
    Ernest Lloyd
    Participant

    Hi there, I’ve got another question for everyone. My camera doesn’t do very good in-camera HDR ( with ghosting and such,) so If I want good high dynamic range I usually resort to another method. 🙂 The first option that I think of is, of course, taking three pictures with different exposures. The other way that I thought of, (and tried,) is to use Lightroom to set different exposures for the photo, creating a virtual copy every time, and then merging them together in an HDR merge. I seemed to have good results with it, but I was curious if anyone has any idea on how this might affect the picture quality etc. I’ll post a before and after of the picture that I tried it on, so you can see how it turned out.
    The HDR seemed to add quite a bit of contrast, detail, depth, and color to the photo. Hope the way I explained it makes sense!

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    #49301
    Esther Marie
    Participant

    This is funny! I just started experimenting with HDR merging not long ago! 😀 I haven’t had great success, and I’m glad you brought it up.

    I have noticed with the HDR (depending on the picture though) is most of the nice color, contrast, etc., is Lightroom is editing the photo automatically. I know it’s supposed to capture more detail in the bright and dark areas, but was wondering what else it does? I was trying it out with a candle flame, hoping to get more detail in the flame, but it didn’t seem to be much different than the original edited.

    How much of a difference do you do for the exposure? I was doing two pictures like bracketing, changing the shutter speed, like 1/100 sec and 1/400 sec. then merging them in Lightroom.

    I hadn’t know my camera could do HDR in-camera, so I haven’t tried that.

    #49323
    Ernest Lloyd
    Participant

    Hey @esther,

    How much of a difference do you do for the exposure? I was doing two pictures like bracketing, changing the shutter speed, like 1/100 sec and 1/400 sec. then merging them in Lightroom.

    It depends on the picture, because the more contrast between the exposures, the “higher” the HDR will look. I couldn’t tell you exactly how many stops of light I would change between pictures in any given situation, but this is how I would explain it. If you are going for a three exposure HDR, I would start by taking one photo that is (according to the camera’s exposure meter,) a perfect exposure.
    Then I would take another photo, making sure that the darkest areas of the photo are the correct exposure (bright enough that you can see detail in the darkest areas). (Obviously according to your eyes, since the camera meter is going to show that the image is way to bright.)
    Then I would take the third photo, exposing for the brightest parts of the image (ie. sky). And again, this time he camera’s exposure meter is going to say that the photo is to dark.
    Last of all then, just do an HDR merge in Lightroom, or whatever editing program that you have.

    I hadn’t known my camera could do HDR in-camera, so I haven’t tried that.

    With my camera being fairly old at 7-8 years or so, I hope that your camera would have an upgraded HDR setting since yours is a year newer. 🙂

    I was trying it out with a candle flame, hoping to get more detail in the flame, but it didn’t seem to be much different than the original edited.

    Yeah, some pictures seem to change more than others when you do High Dynamic Range. It seems to me like a picture with lots of flat looking grass, or just not much depth and contrast in the photo, the photo changes more dramatically.

    I know it’s supposed to capture more detail in the bright and dark areas, but was wondering what else it does?

    What I noticed that changed in some HDR photos , is that the color seems to pop… the color seems richer.

    #49376
    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    The other way that I thought of, (and tried,) is to use Lightroom to set different exposures for the photo, creating a virtual copy every time, and then merging them together in an HDR merge. I seemed to have good results with it, but I was curious if anyone has any idea on how this might affect the picture quality etc.

    I think that’s actually “a thing” in the photography editing world! 🙂 It’s more of a “pseudo-HDR” though, because in reality it’s still only one exposure. As far as image quality, it’ll only be as good as any one photo would be… The only real advantage to pseudo-HDR is that it gives you the ability to “push” the highlights and shadows further than the sliders normally go.

    The thing to look out for with HDR is not pushing things too far so that they look unnaturally colorful or “punchy”. My goal in editing is to make things look just as realistic as possible; as close to what my eyes were actually seeing as possible. Most photos taken with modern cameras don’t even need HDR. Generally, sunsets and other high-contrast scenery are about the only time you really “need” HDR (in my opinion). That didn’t stop me from experimenting with it though. It’s always fun learning new ways to process and work with photos!

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