What is High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography?
Though still a very new concept, the HDR photography is fast becoming one of the most popular art forms. There is a simple reason behind this. An HDR image competes with a person’s mental imagery. And though an HDR image cannot substitute physically being at the location and witnessing the views directly, the photographs do take a step in that very direction. What an HDR image does is that it tricks the mind into reproducing some of the emotions that a live seen would have produced, through the pictures in a way that a normal image can never do. Let us find out more about it.
How to click an HDR image with your Nikon D3200?
While HDR is not very compatible with all kinds of images, what is does is it increases the sharpness of the shadows and the highlights in a picture to a great extent. To get the HDR images processed properly, you will be requiring editing software such as Photomatix or Photoshop.
a) Click as many images as possible in the same location
To get the HDR effect, you will require an underexposed shot, a shot at normal exposure and an overexposed shot.
b) Using the editing software to merge the images
Lets us assume we are using Photomax. The first step is to select the option of ‘Generate HDR Image’. Once that is done, select the 3 (differently exposed) RAW or JPEG files and select the ‘OK’ option. Once you do this, a window will pop up and here you have to align the images, decrease the sound and attempt to match the objects that are in motion. Once this is done, select ‘OK’. After this, a merged image will appear but it won’t look lifelike at all as a normal computer screen is not equipped to display the intricate details of such an image. To fix this, you have to go for the ‘Tone Map’ option.
c) Tone Map
Once you select the ‘Tone Map’ option which you will find adjacent to the merged image, a more lifelike image will appear and that too with many choices. With the help of these options, you can edit the image as you wish. After this, Photomax will return to the default setting, so make sure you save the setting of your choice for your next use.
The settings include:
Strength: The most important feature to determine how the image will look finally. The higher you set it, the higher the carton look of the image will be.
Color Saturation: You can heighten the colors in the images.
Luminosity: The higher the Luminosity, the sharper the shadows will be and hence you will end up with brighter images.
Micro contrast: More contrast to highlight the details in the image.
Other settings include: Smoothing, White, black and gamma points, Temperature Saturation highlights/shadows, Micro smoothing, Highlights/Shadow smoothness, shadows clipping.
Once you are happy with the editing, select ‘Process’ and then save the image.
d) Hiding ghosts and maintaining the natural feel
As the last step, you have to open another editing software such as Photoshop and process the image that has already gone through ‘Tone Map’. What you have to do here is to add many of the first exposure pictures to be used as layers. Select the ‘Layer Mask’ option so that the original areas can be seen. This comes in handy for HDR images that involve motion. Let’s say in the original image, you had a bird flying. This feature will be useful to exhibit that.
It is a good idea to look for HDR images on the internet as it is a growing field of photography with many photographers taking to it.