HDR Cookbook, how to and Topaz Labs - Dreamstime

© Stefgo

I heard about HDR, High Dynamic Range while at a seminar. Some photographers favoured this technique, while others didn't.

I like HDR more for the creative scene than for general photography and decided to give it a try. I bought Photomatix and my first few attempts were terrible. I mean it was hard to look at the photos after.

I tried different tools in the program and no matter how I tried I just made a complete mess. I left the HDR adventure for awhile and while on Facebook I came across this:


The author provides a detailed "cookbook" on HDR that shows you from beginning to end how to use HDR software to your advantage. I also found out about Topaz Labs, which yes I also bought lol.

But it was worth it. Topaz Labs actually extended my PSE9 flexibility by adding a few more functions I didn't have like Vignette. I only found out about not having this function when working on a tutorial.

Topaz Labs has trials available if anyone is interested.

But back to HDR. This is a technique, that when mastered can yield some fantastic results. I'm still working on HDR, it isn't something you learn the first time round.

As far as I know from the search I did on DT, the accompanying photo is an HDR photo.

Oh, a thing of interest to note. The author also discusses creating two extra files before merging in HDR. My SLR can only produce 3 Auto Bracketing exposures, which limits the HDR. Adding two extra gives more character. I didn't know that TIFF's give more detail than JPEG when it comes to HDR.

So take a look, if you were wondering about HDR or were struggling with it, this is a very informative site.

Photo credits: Stefan Gottschild.

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April 06, 2012


Very interesting. Try out a trial version of NIK software for HDR. it seems to give you a more natural look than photomatix.

April 06, 2012


@Honghan001 thanks will give it a try. I'm wary of touching the camera when photos are combined later because of ghosting but I will definitely give it a try.

@Andromantic here's another link you try, it takes you directly to the cookbook. http://farbspiel-photo.com/learn/hdr-cookbook

April 06, 2012


Great info, thanks for the link! Ooops, it did not open for me - well, it sort of started but then hanged... Anyways, HDR is something I would like to try next, as I seem to get into night/evening photography :)

update: TIFF is always better quality than JPEG as TIFF preserves all the fine and colour detail just as RAW format - both formats are uncompressed. By the way, just for this reason strong and fast-varying gradients may loose their smoothness in JPEG, which results in stepwise banding. I think HDR images may suffer a lot from this dreadful effect, that's why HDR's are better to be saved as TIFF.

April 05, 2012


Thanks for sharing this information. One of these days I will have to try it out.

April 05, 2012


Thanks for sharing...

April 05, 2012


i am usually bracketing by 1/3 per shot and the stronger color range i got..

April 04, 2012


Nice link. I too put HDR on the shelf after first getting excited about it. I'll have to give it another try after looking at this info.

April 04, 2012


You can lock your camera to a tripod and do your own bracketing exposures, rather using the auto bracketing. I always bracket 1/4 per shoot when I want to do HDR.

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