Capture All the Details of a Scene Using HDR

Real estate and architectural photographers are familiar with the challenges of shooting an indoor location during broad daylight. The sunshine pours in through windows, and, without a truckload of studio lights to brighten the space, it's impossible to capture everything your eye sees in a single image. That's where this intro to HDR comes in handy. 

Many, if not most, cameras today allow photographers to shoot high dynamic range (HDR) images in-camera. However, the results often leave much to be desired. That's where knowing how to manually achieve HDR results in post-production is helpful in creating the best image possible.

Colin Smith once again delivers a solid, easy-to-digest beginner's tutorial, describing how to use multiple exposures and Photoshop (or Lightroom or Camera Raw) to create all the details your eyes can see in your image. The ability to merge photos into HDR is absolutely essential for aspiring real estate or architectural photographers, but these techniques can be just as important to capturing all the details of a gorgeous sunset landscape or a happily married couple inside the church or reception hall.

Smith notes that a tripod is helpful, but not absolutely necessary to capturing the images needed for rendering an HDR photograph. I'd say some sort of stabilization is necessary if you're planning to make money off your HDR images, even if it's a matter of setting your camera on a table. Certainly a tripod is preferred whenever possible.

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5 Comments

It sure would be nice if Capture One would implement some sort of HDR merge and panorama merge option.

YL Photographie's picture

I find the HDR is not natural for landscape photography, but it's necessary for architectural

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

It depends how you use it, but it can easily become "too much" if your goal is realism.

YL Photographie's picture

and many people are using HDR badly. I prefer the use of filter but I agree that in some situations we have no choice. Now with the dynamic range of the new sensors we feel less and less the need to use HDR

This one example came out pretty well, without overdoing the HDR. That being said, I would love to see some other examples since it feels like this was selectively chosen for this video. Specfically, the curtains already helped control the window pull; had they not been there and the windows had white cross pieces top to bottom, I wonder whether those white cross pieces and window framing would turn dark or "smokey" in this process, which is to me one of the biggest issues with architectural HDR.