Photos By Meta - How To Shoot HDR Photography

Meta’s Digital Photography Training – How To Shoot The Best HDR Photography

Photos By Meta - HDR Photography
Aurora HDR Photography – Standard vs. HDR

The Best HDR Photography Tips for Beginners

Meta’s High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography produces Greater Dynamic Range over Standard Photography. Meta’s Natural Looking HDR Photography is ideal for High Contrast Photos, such as Sunsets and Sunrises.

(Photo: Left) The Standard Sunset Photo on the Left Side is way underexposed, but the HDR Photograph on the Right Side is the result of combining 5 bracketed images, shot at 1.0EV apart, in Aperture Priority Mode, using 5 Different Shutter Speeds. A 3 Stop ND Filter was used for the Longer Exposure, to prevent any over exposure!

HDR Bracketing requires absolutely no movement of the Digital 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. For the correct exposure, line up the center EV arrow at 0.

Depending on the Sunrise or Sunset Venue, Meta uses her two fastest Prime Lenses: Minolta AF 24mm f/2.8 Lens and Minolta AF 50mm f/1.4 Lens. Her Super Sharp 50mm f/1.4 lens lets her shoot in extreme dark conditions or in daylight at 1/8000th of a second shutter speed.

View Meta’s HDR Photography Photos

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 Aperture Priority Mode in RAW using 5 Continuous Bracketed shots, 1.0EV apart (-2.0, -1.0, 0, +1.0, + 2.0).

Save $10 on the Purchase of Aurora HDR with the Promo Code below.

Did She Fire 5 Shots or Only 3 – Some say there’s no advantage to shooting 5 Bracketed Shots over 3, 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 (Aperture Priority Mode at ISO 400). Unprocessed and Zoomed in to 600%, the HDR Image from 1 Standard Single Shot was a bit noisy. The HDR Image from 3 Bracketed Shots had light noise, but the HDR Image from 5 Bracketed Shots was very clean. This is why Meta always shoots 5 RAW Bracketed Shots instead of 3.

The Exposure Triangle – The Exposure Triangle shows us that here’s only 3 possible ways to adjust Exposure over the 5 EV shots – Shutter Speed, Aperture or ISO:
• Shutter Priority Mode – Varies Aperture – Depth of Field Changes with shots.
• Manual Mode – Varies ISO – 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 – Noise Increases with shots.
• Aperture Priority Mode – Varies Shutter Speed – Motion Blur Increases with shots.

Of the 3 Possible Exposure Modes for HDR, Aperture Priority Mode is the Best Camera Mode for Bracketed HDR Photography, because it has the least side effects.

In Aperture Priority Mode, the last 2 longer shutter speed shots can introduce slight motion blur in the clouds and if the trees are moving, but for most Sunrise and Sunset photography, this usually isn’t an issue.

Meta’s Digital Camera Settings for Bracketed Sunrise and Sunset HDR Photography

Aperture Priority Mode – Switch to Manual Focus – Focus to Infinity
Camera 1 –> Quality –> RAW
Camera 2 –> Drive Mode –> Continous Bracketing 1.0EV 5 Images
Camera 3 –> Focus Area –> Center
Camera 5 –> Metering Mode –> Spot
Camera 8 –> SteadyShot –> Off (Turn Off Image Stabilization when on a Sturdy Tripod)
Gear 5 –> Bracket Order –> - > 0 > + (Darkest, Standard, Lightest).

Meta’s Best Digital Camera Settings for Sunrise and Sunset HDR Photography

Camera: Sony a77 II Digital Camera
Lenses: Minolta AF 24mm f/2.8 or Minolta AF 50mm f/1.4
Camera Mode: Aperture Priority Mode
Tripod: Sturdy Tripod with Wireless Remote Control
Image Stabilization: Off (When using a Sturdy Tripod) – Remember to Turn it Back On
Focus: Switch to Manual Focus to Infinity
ISO: Auto (Maximum Range limited to ISO 400)
Shutter Speed: Will vary for each shot taken
Drive Mode: Cont. Bracket: 1.0EV 5 Images
Filter: 3 Stop ND Filter (ND 8 | 0.9)
Flash Power: Off
Sunrise Aperture: Start at f/1.4 to f/2.8. Gradually decrease the aperture size to f/8 as sun rises and it gets lighter. Bring a Flashlight.
Sunset Aperture: Start at f/8. Gradually increase the aperture size to f/1.4 to f/2.8 as sun sets and it gets darker. Bring a Flashlight.

Neutral Density Filters Table

Contact Meta

Skylum SoftwareLuminar FlexAurora HDRPhotolemur
Photos By Meta is a participant in the Skylum Software Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Skylum.com. Skylum’s Software includes Luminar, Luminar Flex, Aurora HDR and Photolemur. Use the Promo Code below to save $10!

Contact Meta

Photos By Meta

Boone NC Commercial and Nature Photographers
PO Box 1571
Blowing Rock, NC 28605
1-828-265-2730
Monday – Friday, 9 AM – 5 PM (Eastern)

Contact Meta


Photos By Meta - Boone NC Commercial Photographers and Nature Photographers

Photos By Meta

Meta Gätschenberger is an Award Winning Photographer from Blowing Rock, NC. Visit Meta’s Photo Gallery at Photos by Meta.


Website Photos Courtesy of Meta Gätschenberger, Award Winning North Carolina Nature Photographer.
InstagramYou TubeFollow Us On FacebookPhotos By Meta
Photos By Meta is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
Start Your Free 30 Day Trial of Amazon Prime!
Meta is trying to replace her original Sony a77 II Digital Camera which
blew over on a Blue Ridge Parkway overlook and was totally destroyed
in the fall. A used replacement Sony a77 II Digital Camera costs $848.
Can you help Meta with a small donation?
North Carolina Web Design and Photography