HDR Processing Techniques with Rob Hanson – Part 1 of 5

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HDR Processing Techniques with Rob Hanson, Part 1 of 5. Includes Introduction, Analysis, Tonemapping in Photomatix Pro. Originally posted on my blog site at robhanson.wordpress.com 08/07/12: Favor please… If you’re going to give this a Dislike, please leave a comment regarding why you did. Thank you. It’ll help with future tutorials.


thetravelinghermit says:

Beautiful work, and very gracious of you to discuss your techniques. Thank you very much.

Kenneth9725 says:

Use more strength to talk.

RobHansonPhotography says:

Certainly enough sales to keep me occupied. It’s not within the scope of a comment to discuss this; plenty of info on the internet. Shows, contests, art walks, private sales, commercial sales, advertising… All is possible, same as with more conventional photography. HDR is just one way of creating the art.

ozon12free says:

I think where and how to sell them? Lots of beautiful images can be created and sold … What is your experience with the sale?

RobHansonPhotography says:

What do you mean, ozon12free?

ozon12free says:

And … What to do with all these HDR images???

RobHansonPhotography says:

Nahhh, it’s not Rob Van Winkle. It’s just a couple of guys named Freddie Mercury and David Bowie, backed by Brian May, John Deacon, and Roger Taylor.

You must feel so let down. Sorry. 🙂

Jason Scottish says:

Its not Vanilla Ice awww man 🙁

porchdallas says:

Microsoft Sam!

ferazcon says:

This is just great – thank you sooo much!

That said, your voice is sooooooooothing! Must…. zz… stay…. awake.. zzzzZZ!

😀 I mean that in the best way, love this video!

bane61187 says:

One of the most comprehensive and detailed tutorial out here. It’s really good. Thank you so much for this. I was looking all over for a dedicated tutorial on great quality HDR processing for amateur photographers, like me, just starting to work with HDR. This tutorial is exact thing I needed.

RobHansonPhotography says:

Tariq — Always shoot RAW if you can. Although you can do HDR processing with JPG, it’s a lot better to use RAW.

For one thing, every time you save a JPG file, you’ll lose resolution. And the JPG that comes out of your camera has already been pre-processed and compressed!

With RAW files, you get the full range of what the sensor ‘sees’, and a far wider color gamut to work with. In other words, you get a lot more information per pixel with RAW.

Tariq Zia says:

Hi Rob,
Once again I am here.
Please tell me that For HDR Processing , we have to change Camera settings to Jpeg or Raw mode? Which setting you are using for HDR?

RobHansonPhotography says:

Hi, Tariq – Thanks for your kind comments; I really appreciate it.

I admit I don’t often post the EXIF data for my shots. Because of my workflow, and the fact that some HDR programs strip the EXIF data out (not to mention the fact that shutter speed varies through brackets), I lost the habit of posting that information.

Where I can, I will.

In the meantime: Shoot with the lowest ISO possible; determine your Aperture by the depth of field you want; meter for the center frame and bracket away.

Tariq Zia says:

Mr Rob Hanson,
I like your video and I have visited your site.Its really Nice , awesome.
Really glad to see your pictures on the blog.
I have one request that in description please write the Camera settings which you were using. Like which Lens using,ISO,Aperature shutter speed . .etc.
It will be really helpful for Entry level photographers like us.
Really appreciate your help and guidance.
Thanks and keep on posting new pictures.
Be Blessed.

RobHansonPhotography says:

Huy –

To shoot HDR brackets, it’s best to have a camera that supports AEB (Auto Exposure Bracketing.) Set the camera’s AEB to shoot 3 shots at -2EV, 0, and +2EV, then shoot at high speed from a tripod. All 3 shots should take less than 1 second.

You can do this manually, but you have to be quick and you’re likely to move the camera between shots. Another option is the Promote Control trigger from Promote Systems.

Good luck!

RobHansonPhotography says:

Thank you, Kevin.

I’m about to post a video about ‘Single Image “HDR” Processing Techniques.’ Stay tuned!

Huy Võ Hùng says:

Mr RobHansonPhotography —

I saw your comments on how to shoot HDR photos. You said in it that we changed the Exposure Compensation steps from -2EV to 0EV with 3 shots in each stage. But how can we change it so fast that the scene will not change? Because everytime I shoot HDR photos, I always shoot photos 1 by 1 with different exposure steps so the scene moves (I think you know what I am trying to say). Please help me out with this. Thank you.

Kevin Creighton says:

Great job Rob, the explanation of your thought process is very insightful. Please share more of your photo shop techniques for HDR and regular digital images.

RobHansonPhotography says:

MrCohenal –

Set your Aperture to the appropriate setting for your scene; you might want bokeh, or you might want everything sharp. For landscape, try setting Aperture to your lens’ sweet spot. Use the lowest ISO you can (100) for less grain.

You can focus auto, but then turn off auto focus before shooting. If you take several shots in a row, autofocus might hone in on different spots – not good. Or, just manual focus.

Meter for the center exposure, as you normally would, then bracket up/down.

MrCohenal says:

Hi Rob, great video! Very informative and I appreciate you taking your time to do so. I recently bought a DSLR (Canon T1i) and I’ve been messing with the settings trying to figure out what to set them at for specific shots. I primarily take landscape/seascape photography such as this. For a shot like this, where would you suggest setting the aperture and ISO? Also, would you suggest (for HDR) focusing manually or automatically? Thank you, Rob!

RobHansonPhotography says:

Mihajlo98 – Clearly, you don’t take multiple exposures with the water in the same place. That would be impossible.

In here, I show how to use the de-ghosting feature in Photomatix, where you select the area of water (or anything else moving), and select which one of your exposures you’d like to use for that area. (Look at this tutorial at the 6:00 minute mark.)

Alternatively, you can use Photoshop to layer in one of the original exposures in that area, but it’s sometimes more effort to do so.

Mihajlo Velkov says:

How do you take images with different exposures with water in same place?
I guess water is moving while you are changing exposures?

Fawwaz Dawod says:

Got it. Thanks!

RobHansonPhotography says:

1Fawwaz — I’m glad it helped.

I didn’t give the correct instructions, though! Do not change your Aperture setting while shooting brackets. Change your Exposure Compensation setting, instead. Shoot three shots at -2EV exposure compensation, then *carefully* dial the camera to 0EV and shoot the next three brackets. That should give you a good range to work with.

One should never change aperture setting when shooting brackets. That would change the depth of field.

RobHansonPhotography says:

… first, shoot 3 brackets at, say, -2EV exposure compensation, then *very carefully* move your EV dial to shoot the next 3 brackets at 0EV (details available on the ‘net.) This will give you six shots at 1EV steps, and that’s a good place to start.

Again, the biggest issue is that it shoots JPG. First, the camera will alter the image according to its settings, and then every time you save a JPG file, you’ll lose information (detail.)

[The instructions have been modified since first posting]

Fawwaz Dawod says:

Thanks. That really helped.

RobHansonPhotography says:

Thanks, soulexhaler9… I plan to do just that. It just takes time to make them good.

soulexhaler9 says:

Thanks a Lot for Replying… If i didnt see this video i would probably think this is a Digital painting but you really did a great job. I will go for Nikon D5100. Make more Tutorials

RobHansonPhotography says:

@soulexhaler9 – Although I went with Nikon after due diligence, I can’t recommend one over the other. It really depends on your needs and preferences, even down to how the camera feels in your hands.

Be sure to read the specs, check online reviews, go to a store and handle both models, then make your best choice. In the end, the most important thing is the 6″ *behind* the camera, and the second most important choice will be lenses.

Good luck!

soulexhaler9 says:

I am new into this Photography thing, can you please suggest me Which Camera should I take For Video and Still Photos for Beginners, Nikon D5100 or Cannon 550D.

RobHansonPhotography says:

Easzlee – For most things, I prefer Photomatix over Nik’s product. That said, a new version of Nik is coming out very soon (possibly today), and it looks quite good. And much faster. For the utmost in realism, I’d go with HDR Expose2 from UCT.

I don’t have room here to go into detail, but no, one file would NOT work as well as three RAW files. A single file simply can’t catch the dynamic range that three would. More brackets at tighter intervals is best. Try 9 exp at 2/3 EV for even more fun!

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