Photos By Meta - How To Shoot HDR Photography

Learn How To Shoot HDR Photography For Beginners

Disclaimer – 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, including Luminar Flex and Aurora HDR.

Meta’s Digital Photography Training – In this section of Meta’s Digital Photography Training, Meta covers How To Shoot HDR Photography with Bracketing For Beginners.

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

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HDR Photography Tips and Training

How To Shoot HDR Photography
Aurora HDR Sunset Photography – Standard vs. HDR
HDR Bracketing – Shooting HDR Photography using 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.

High Dynamic Range (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 Manual 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.

HDR Bracketing – Shooting Sunrise and Sunset HDR Photography using 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. 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.

The Best Days to Shoot HDR Sunset Photography – The Best 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.

View Meta’s Landscape 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 Manual 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 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 – Not Auto ISO).

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.

Auto ISO – If you shoot in Manual Mode and Auto ISO, the Sony Digital Camera will try and use 5 Different ISOs when Bracketing, instead of 5 Different Shutter Speeds. This method isn’t consistent, especially if your Auto ISO is capped at ISO 400, but give it a try anyway.

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 (Do Not Use Auto ISO)
Gear 5 –> Bracket Order –> - > 0 > + (Darkest, Standard, Lightest).

Meta’s Digital Camera Settings for HDR Photography

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: Sturdy Tripod with Wireless Remote Control
Focus: Manual Focus to Infinity
ISO: 100 (Sony Native ISO)
Aperture: Start at around f/8
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.

Neutral Density Filters Table

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Western North Carolina Nature Photographers

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Nature Photographs were shot by Western North Carolina Nature Photographer Meta Gätschenberger of Photos by Meta, with Sony Mirrorless Cameras and Sony Lenses.

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