A Better Way to Increase the Dynamic Range of Your Final Image

As improved as dynamic range is in modern cameras, there are plenty of instances in which you will not able to easily capture full coverage of shadows to highlights. In this video, learn a complete workflow for improving the dynamic range of those high-contrast images.

I distinctly remember the first shot I ever took with my first camera. I came home from work and set it up and was desperate to give it a go. I hopped in my car and drove out into the countryside a little more and as I was en route, a storm hit. I thought at the time it was poor luck, but in actuality, it was very good luck. 

As the sun was setting, the clouds cracked and the bright, post-storm light came bursting through in brilliant orange. I pulled the car over, got out, and took a shot of the sky. The thick black clouds dotted around made the scene dark enough that my first image was blurry. Not knowing exactly how to fix that, I put my camera on the roof of my car and tried again, with success. I was thrilled with what I saw on the back of the camera and raced home to look at it.

The resulting image wasn't bad, but what disappointed me was the dynamic range. The foreground hadn't been exposed for and was almost completely black. Cameras gave out less power raw files back then so recovering the shadows came at a real cost. I researched how to overcome this problem and the first technique I learned was to shoot bracketed, and that's a technique I still use today for various applications.

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4 Comments

Jan Holler's picture

OMG, the newest low on FS: a dude finds out about HDR and let some software stack them together. How impressive.

W Mitty's picture

Not all who read this site are experts. Beginners may not be aware of how to exposure blend multiple images, and they too are deserving of instructional content on FS. I am guessing that even the most seasoned professional had to start with beginner instruction.

I remember reading a quote somewhere, "All I have learned is learned from others and practise and still there is a lot to learn." Beginners should be afforded the same opportunity.

Jan Holler's picture

All true, but not like this video. I am sure that about this topic there are much better videos for beginners than this.

Edit: I checked the original site. He did this video because on an iPad there is no HDR function in Lightroom.

To the author: Great curating Robert, I am sure that was very hard work.

Nick Yambura's picture

Possibly the most underwhelming article I’ve read on this site in a long time. I’m very happy for the author for “discovering” a technique that has been in every camera’s manual for at least 20 years and that photoshop has done for at least as long.