How to photograph in HDR

What is HDR?

Photography in HDR or High Dynamic Range allows you bring out the detail from the shadows and give a 3rd dimensional affect to your photos.

My favourite time to use this is on a dull, cloudy day on a landscape shot

There are lots of methods out there and even ways to fake it (which I will discuss in my next blog post)

“It is really easy and I want to share it with you so you can give it a try!”

The technical method I like to use is from one of the leaders in HDR, Trey Ratcliffe

What you will need:

  • DSLR camera capable of bracketing. (Some mirrorless cameras have this feature as well!)

  • Tripod

  • HDR Processing software (Photomatix, Photoshop etc)

  • A subject 🙂

THAT’s IT and maybe a smile 🙂

I have seen many great examples of HDR use. But for this purpose I will go with a nice, simple landscape shot

Head out to your nearest national park or lookout and setup. For this exercise, I have chosen a sunset and I am photographing directly at the sun (hell yeah!)

after work

Camera Settings

Put the camera into Aperture priority mode and turn autobracketing on

(If you are not sure how to do this have a look at the manual on your camera)

Set the intervals of the bracketing to capture under three frames: exposed, zero exposure and overexposed

I use a Nikon d7000 and choose 3F 0.3. This will take 3 frames at -3, 0, +3. If it is getting dark on the sunset I like to experiment with 3F 0.7

“Press the shutter button and sip your tea while your camera does the work :)”

Things to note, if it is a windy day you will get movement in the trees during the bracketing which doesn’t work so well when you put the photo together in post processing

HDR setup

Post Processing

Using Photomatix, load the three bracketed photos into the program and stay with the defaults for the import

Now you are in the main editing screen, you can go with the presets or move around the sliders for your taste and then hit PROCESS

Now you have an HDR photo! Don’t forget to save it!

You can bring it into Lightroom if you like and tidy up any clarity or saturation

Try it this weekend and let me know how you went!

This was my final photo

I have another posting on how to remove ghosting in HDR processing from movement and wind here

How to remove ghosting in HDR

HDR sunset2 photo

More Information

If you want to learn more about this technique and get step by step instructions with video or in an ebook, my affiliates links are below!

Justine King
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Justine King

Fine Art Photographer at Justine King Photography
I am a Fine Art photographer in Sydney, Australia. I am passionate about using artistic expression in photography to convey a message
Justine King
Follow me on

Latest posts by Justine King (see all)

Justine King

I am a Fine Art photographer in Sydney, Australia. I am passionate about using artistic expression in photography to convey a message

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