Random HDR Questions
Several of you have written into 3exposure.com with questions about HDR. While 3exposure is not exactly a Q&A site like Photofocus.com, one of my other projects, I thought I’d answer a few questions that I receive on a frequent basis.
1. From Steve Johnson, Dallas, TX
Is it possible to make an HDR photograph that looks “normal?” I am not a fan of the over-processed HDR shots I see from some photographers.
ANSWER: Steve “over-processed” is always a matter of opinion. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all that. But as one who leans to the more conservative side of HDR myself, I’d say absolutely – yes. You can use HDR with no intent other than balancing out the highlights and shadows in an image as I did in the photograph that appears on the top of the page. I felt like the image would be maybe a stop and one half outside the camera’s ability to capture detail across the board so I made three exposures, one stop apart and merged them in Nik HDR Efex Pro and got what I consider to be a “normal” result. Your mileage may vary.
2. From Bill Brown, Los Angeles, CA
Can you shoot HDR at night and if so, shouldn’t you forego the over exposure and bias your shots toward underexposure?
ANSWER: Yes Bill you can shoot HDR at night. You will probably need to make some very long exposures and most cameras that feature any sort of automatic mode won’t allow for timed exposures that are longer than 30 seconds. I would bias my shots toward more underexposed than over exposed (unless there was also a bright light in the shot) and would use manual mode to make between five and seven exposures – most of those being below the suggested camera exposure.
3. Amy Edwards, London UK
Is it possible to make HDR photos with people in them?
Yes – the easiest way is to make one shot at the perfect exposure for the person and then composite that shot into the HDR combined image of the scene minus the person. There are other ways to do this. Trey Ratcliff explains a very detailed way to do it in his book A World in HDR.