HDR Photography Tips for Beginners

Meta Explains The Best HDR Photography Tips For Beginner Photographers

How To Shoot HDR Photography for Beginner Photographers

High Dynamic Range Photography Tips – In this section of Photography Tips and Techniques, Meta Explains The Best High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography Tips using Exposure Bracketing For Beginners.

Natural Looking HDR Photography is ideal for High Contrast Photos, such as Sunrise Photography and Sunset Photography.

Exposure Bracketing Tips – Shooting HDR Photography using Exposure Bracketing requires shooting 3 or 5 Bracketed Images, at different EV Levels, using a Constant Aperture but Different Shutter Speeds, then combining them using Aurora HDR into one final HDR Photograph.

Where To Buy The Best HDR Photography Books

Meta’s Best HDR Photography Tips and Techniques

What’s The Best HDR Photography Setup?

How To Shoot The Best HDR Photography – The Standard Sunset Photo (Photo: Left – Left Side) is underexposed on the bottom, but the Bracketed HDR Photograph on the Nature Looking Right Side is the result of combining 5 bracketed images, shot at 1.0EV apart in Aperture Mode at ISO 100, starting at around f/8 at 5 Different Shutter Speeds, at ISO 100. A 3 Stop Neutral Density Filter (ND Filter) or 2 Stop Circular Polarizer Filter (CPL) is used to prevent any over exposure shooting directly into the sunset! Post Processing of the 5 Bracketed shots was done in Aurora HDR.

Meta’s Best HDR Photography Tips

HDR Bracketing – Shooting Sunrise and Sunset HDR Photography using Bracketing requires absolutely no movement of the Camera between multiple shots! Meta shoots in RAW HDR Bracketing on a Sturdy Tripod using a Wireless Remote Control. In Bracket Mode, you’ll notice 5 EV arrows in the viewfinder, instead of the usual 1 EV arrow. Expose on the foreground, not the sky, then line up the center EV arrow at 0.

Golden Hour – Shoot Sunsets at the Golden Hour, the 1/2 Hour Period Before Sunset and After Sunset. This is the time to shoot Sunset Photography, when the sunlight is redder, softer, and parallel to the horizon. Meta uses a Red LED Flashlight or a Red Glow Stick for setup.

Blue Hour – Shoot Sunrises at the Blue Hour, the 1/2 Hour Period Before Sunrise and After Sunrise. This is the time to shoot Sunrise Photography, when the sunlight is blueish, evenly diffused, and parallel to the horizon. Meta uses a Red LED Flashlight or a Red Glow Stick for setup.

Best Days to Shoot HDR Sunset Photography – HDR Sunset Photography usually involves low lying clouds. Clouds reflect the light and produce interesting contrast and colors. Days following a heavy rain are much cleaner and provide long range views.

Photography TipsShooting The Best Sunrise and Sunset Photography is often left up to luck and chance. But now there’s a better way to predict your local Sunrise and Sunset Quality Forecasts. SunsetWX provides accurate, global sunrise and sunset quality forecasts, utilizing proprietary methodologies. Give it a try!

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Aurora HDR – All HDR Photography requires some Special HDR Post Production Software, such as Aurora HDR, to combine the 5 Bracketed RAW Images in your computer. Meta uses Aurora HDR for her RAW HDR Post Processing. Meta shoots in Manual Mode in RAW using 5 Continuous Bracketed shots, 1.0EV apart (-2.0, -1.0, 0, +1.0, +2.0).

Did She Fire 5 Shots or Only 3 – Some say there’s no advantage to shooting 5 Bracketed Shots over 3 Shots, which takes longer and uses up more SD Card Space. Meta ran some HDR Bracketing tests using Aurora HDR on the same 5 RAW Bracketed Shots at 1EV apart at different shutter speeds (Manual Mode at ISO 100).

Conclusions – Zoomed in to 600% to see the pixels, the HDR Image from 1 Standard Single Shot was noisy. The HDR Image from the middle 3 Bracketed Shots had some noise, but the HDR Image from 5 Bracketed Shots was clean. This is why Meta often shoots 5 RAW Bracketed Shots instead of 3 Shots or 1 Shot.

Manual Mode – ISO 100 – Start at around f/8 – Manual Focus to Infinity

Camera 1 –> Quality –> RAW
Camera 2 –> Drive Mode –> Continuous Bracketing 1.0EV 5 Images
Camera 3 –> Focus Area –> Wide
Camera 5 –> Metering Mode –> Multi
Camera 5 –> ISO –> 100
Gear 5 –> Bracket Order –> - > 0 > + (Darkest, Standard, Lightest).

Meta’s Best HDR Photography Camera Settings

Camera: Sony a77 II Digital Camera
Lenses: Minolta AF 24mm f/2.8 or Minolta AF 50mm f/1.4
Camera Mode: Manual Mode (Takes 5 Shots at varying Shutter Speeds)
Tripod: Slik Pro 700DX Tripod with a Sony Wireless Remote Control
Triod Bag: 90cm Tripod Bag
Focus: Manual Focus to Infinity
ISO: 100
Aperture: f/8 to f/11
Image Stabilization: Off
Drive Mode: Continuous Bracket: 1.0EV 5 Images
Filter: 3 Stop ND Filter (ND 8 | 0.9) or 2 Stop Circular Polarizer Filter (CPL)
Flash Power: Off

Shooting HDR Sunrises: Slowly Increase the Aperture from f/8 to f/16 as the sun rises and it gets brighter. Setup 1/2 hour before sunrise.
Shooting HDR Sunsets: Slowly Decrease the Aperture from f/8 to f/4 as the sun sets and it gets darker. Setup 1/2 hour before sunset.

Photography TipsShooting HDR Photography is something you should be always thinking about. Even if you are not shooting HDR, consider shooting 5 bracketed shots all the time, even if you are shooting Hand Held. This way, if you want to process in HDR later, you will have the 5 bracketed shots to do so.

Neutral Density Filters Table

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