HDR photography

Discussion in 'The Artist's Corner' started by jahkush, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. I just recently started getting into this, for some reason I had been quite unaware of it over the passed years. It works best with 3-4 seperate pictures, taken with different exposures, however I found out a way myself to make an HDR from a single photo.

    Though it doesn't look at good as a true HDR, I think it is very impressive still.

    Original picture:


    "Fake" HDR:


    The only part of my outcome that I don't like, is that the sky in the HDR looks grey, as if it's cloudy. You can tell in the original it's blue though, photo was taken at about 5:00am.

    If anyone's got a nice quality picture they want me to try and HDR, post it here and I'll give it a go. Need to get some practice before I get myself a decent camera.
  2. If you have a camera that can shoot RAW, you can make faux HDR images look extremely close to how they would with separate exposures. With JPEG images though it's pretty difficult because of how much damage you're actually doing to the image.
  3. I've never heard of this.. what exactly is RAW? Quickly googled but I'm not sure what I'm looking at.

    And are you sure with a true HDR, that the image is damaged? Seems like it takes the best portions of each picture and merges them, and ideally the pictures are supposed to be the exact same at different exposures.
  4. Yup, I'm completely sure. Any edits made to anything other than raw are damaged. Not as in the photo is no longer viewable, but in the sense that image quality decreases with edits. This happens because jpegs are compressed formats. When you take a picture, your camera sensor compresses the file to make it permanent and reduce the data your camera has to handle. Jpegs even at their biggest are much smaller files than RAW.

    To show an example. Here is a picture I took (completely unedited):

    Now the edited version (before spending a while trying to fix it)

    As you can see, visibly, a lot more noise and screwed up pixel areas. Notice some of the color (speaking mainly about the lower left hand side of the rainbow) becomes a big over-saturated and distorted as well.

    So yes, even when you use 3 separate exposures, merge them together, you're degrading the image quality. Sometimes, it's not this bad. Other times, it's worse. Also, creating HDRs is known to increase the noise in a picture, even when using RAW. It's a pretty inevitable thing...

    Also, to answer your question. RAW is an uncompressed format. Your camera stores untouched data straight from your sensor. The benefit of it is you can edit the image a lot without doing any damage to it. Until you convert it and it eventually comes compressed (but you do that after editing so you can get flawless photos).
  5. #5 jahkush, Aug 9, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2011
    Oh yeah, there's no doubt some damage is done to the picture then. I find that it "fixes" other areas of the picture though, and pretty darn well at that.

    I'm very picky with my image quality, if I noticed a lot of noise or quality reduction I would restart and try another method, or less intense editing.

    edit: You also need to remember, most cameras don't take the most sharp pictures even when focused properly (referring to point-n-shoot's, autofocus). If I was doing all my work with very well taken DSLR pictures I think it'd be a little different story, seeing as how I wouldn't have to attempt to sharpen blurry parts. Not to mention, I'm sure we both use different editing techniques, maybe even different software entirely.
  6. No you're definitely right. I've been shooting with point and shoots for... 6 years. Only the last 2 being really serious (but lacking the funds to upgrade to a DSLR). They definitely can't perform nearly as well as their beefed up counterparts.

    Editing software I use:
    Adobe Lightroom 3.0 (organization and initial editing)
    Adobe Photoshop CS5 (resizing, sharpening, and some other little edits I can't do as well in LR)
    Photomatix Pro 4.0 (for all my HDR needs)

  7. Yeah, there's just no comparison when you can fine-tune your settings for the type of picture you're taking.

    Surprised to see we generally use the same software, I use CS3 and Photomatix 4.1. I'm completely unfamiliar with Lightroom, haven't heard of it until recently.

    Also, any perks to CS5? The reason I ask is because I've been using Photoshop since version 7, and I noticed the differences between CS and CS2 were very minimal.
  8. Up until last week I used CS3 as well. My brother is going to school for graphic design though, and they gave him a copy of CS5 that he could put on like 4 different computers and he put one on mine.

    The biggest reason to upgrade from CS3 to CS4/CS5 in my opinion is because they support 64bit computers. They also did a lot work to make sure that the graphics card is doing a majority of the rendering rather than your processor. That frees up your processor a lot to do other rendering. The interface has changed to make workflow faster and easier as well. However, if you're just editing photos or using it for minor stuff, there really isn't any reason to upgrade. I probably wouldn't have, but my brother offered.

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