High Dynamic Range Photography

October 25, 2007

I’d like to tell you that I’m an expert on the subject of High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography, but I’m not. It is a combination of photography techniques and software that creates some pretty amazing results. If you want a very complete overview of the subject along with some awesome sample pictures, the Stuck in Customs is the place to visit. Another cool thing is that they offer a discount coupon for Photomatix, a software tool used to make HDR photos. Note there is also a free, but limited, version of Photomatix available. If you are just getting started, it is a good place to start.

Now the theory behind HDR photography is that you take multiple shots at different exposure levels. Then the software combines the images together. There is also a separate theory that says you can use RAW processing software to create the various exposures from the same RAW file.

As you are reading about these techniques, you’ll see that everything is written about Photoshop. I haven’t seen any techniques that can’t be done in Corel PHOTO-PAINT.

Get out there and take some great photos and push them to the next level with HDR. When you get a good shot, send it my way as I’d love to see it.

Post Discussion


  1. Lars

    The thing is that PS now has a dedicated HDR merge module whereas PP does not. This means you will have to manually mask the areas you will keep/not keep in the merged file. That means a lot of work. This should be automatted and is badly needed in PP to keep up with PS.

  2. Dave Huss

    As good as HDR is, it is complicated to set up the shoot so that the HDR feature in PS works correctly.
    Adjusting the exposure of RAW files does not provide usable source material for HDR. Areas in the shadows develop excessive noise when the exposure is bumped up and areas that are overexposed tend to lose details.
    Last week I was in Rome without a tripod and attempted to use the auto bracket feature of my camera and high speed (5 fps) to produce multiple images separated by 3 EV steps. Adobe says that the resulting images will not produce an HDR image – they are correct.
    So, I used Layer Masks and my trusty Wacom tablet to combine the images together into a single image. It is time consuming, but it works.

    Dave Huss
    PHOTO-PAINT author

  3. Peter Duke

    Ulead PhotoImpact also has had HDR for some time. It worked for me on one set of three images, when Photomatix failed. I sent the rogue set to Photomatix, whoe sent a good composite image back. They also said that the next version will have an improved engine which should handle my rogue image set.


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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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