Skill Level: Intermediate
Course length: 4 weeks
Next start dates: 6th December 2014 & 3rd January 2015
This exciting high definition online photography course is two courses in one! As well as receiving direction from Gavin via your four MyPhotoSchool interactive video lectures, you have access to a further 8 video instruction lessons to download and keep. During your course Gavin will continually answer all your questions on how to perfect your HDR photography and improve your work to your desired standard through critiquing your submitted photographic assignments.
Gavin not only explains how to use HRD techniques effectively, but also goes through his own unique workflow week by week to show you how he created many of his award winning HDR photographs.
Gavin Phillips: ”Once you have created photos using HDR and you see the unlimited creative potential that you have, I’m certain you will be enjoying selective HDR in your photography forever. There is what I call straight HDR, and I usually create one of these for every winning shot. This will be perfectly lit, with excellent detail and clear colours. Then there are the unlimited colour, black/white and/or a combinations of colors, along with many other effects that you can create in Photoshop. You chose where, and how to apply them. What works with your images and artistic style will be unique for you and your photography. You will only find what you like with lots of fun experimentation in your photography and Photoshop. You need never be concerned about going too far, but make certain that you go far enough. Remember the late great Fred Pickers quote, ‘Photographers owe nothing to reality.’
Streams, forests, old barns, flowers, mountains, big sky, horses; anything natural (I include farm equipment in this, like tractors outside) and shooting outdoors. In our opening week the most important thing is to experiment with capturing HDR. I guarantee you are going to love the images you will be able to create. Also, get comfortable checking your camera settings and keeping the camera perfectly still on your tripod for the sets of HDR. You want to shoot as many sets of HDR as possible. Try different angles and perspectives. We want as much variety as possible.
If you are capturing any wildlife, remember that the animal must be still or moving VERY slowly. If it, or they, are moving slowly, shoot several sets.
This is any man-made building or object that you can shoot outdoors. This could be a sky-scraper, skateboard park, outdoor aircraft/train/car museums, abandoned warehouses/factories, bridges, churches, sculptures, fountains etc. Look for interesting angles and perspectives. If photographing skyscrapers, see if you can catch something interesting in the reflections of the windows. If you are photographing where there are people, be patient and wait for as few people walking in your shot as possible.
This can be architectural or landscape. Any interesting outdoor photo shot at night. It is preferable to have some ambient or artificial light.
Look for well-lit architecture or churches. City night life with old pubs and restaurants can make great night HDR shots. Well lit fountains.
Any interior space will do.. e.g. Homes, greenhouses, conservatory’s, hotels, churches, restaurants, trains, museums, boats, factories. You will get perfectly lit and clean interior shots without the need for additional artificial lighting.
To understand more about how it all works, go to the 'How it Works' section!
What equipment and software do I need?
A digital camera that has an auto exposure bracketing feature (at least up to 2-stops over and underexposed) and shoots RAW. Nearly every DSLR has these features. Check your camera’s manual to see if it has these features.
You can shoot HDR hand-held, but most of the time you will need a tripod.
You can shoot with any lens. A wide angle lens (14 mm) is recommended. Sometimes I use a Fisheye as well. Most often I correct the distortion with a Photoshop plugin and nobody knows I used a Fisheye.
Manual Colour Correction for interior photography. I use the CBL Lens that takes a light reading and colour corrects your camera for that specific lighting.
You can also experiment with the auto White Balance settings that your camera offers.
HDR Compact Cameras
I have not tried these cameras but will be purchasing one of these shortly. They are far easier to carry around than DSLR’s and lenses. These are great ‘grab’ cameras that will always be with you. You can shoot HDR on the fly and hand-held. As the old saying goes, the best camera is the one you have with you.
These cameras shoot RAW and offer AEB
After much research (January 2012) I have found that the Panasonic G3 Micro four thirds camera offers the most versatile AEB for HDR in a compact camera. It offers 3,5,7 frames in 1/3, 2/3 or 1 EV Step, + or – 3 EV.
The Panasonic (G10) has these features, but it does not go up to full 1-stop EV exposure steps though.
The Olympus Pen E-P3 is also a micro four thirds camera that offers RAW shooting and auto exposure bracketing.
The Canon G12 offers these features, but only shoots up to 3 shots in auto exposure bracketing.
If you are considering purchasing, please check the specifications of these cameras to make certain they offer what you need.
Adobe Photoshop CS and onwards or Photoshop Elements 9 and onwards.
Photomatix . Free trial version available.
Artizen . Free trial version available.
Optional – I use it
Dynamic Photo HDR - Free trial version available.
By studying HDR photography through this online photography course, people can boost detail in the light and shadow areas of a photograph, enhancing crispness and clarity to an astonishing degree–and heightening expressiveness and dramatic impact. This HDR photography course reveals the secrets of spectacular HDR images, covering everything from camera set–up and basic Photomix or Photoshop manipulation to toning, reducing noise, creating panoramas, layering images, and adding vignettes and other finishing touches.
With HDR photography, people can boost detail in the light and shadow areas of a photograph, enhancing crispness and clarity to an astonishing degree–and heightening expressiveness and dramatic impact. This HDR photography course reveals the secrets of spectacular HDR images, covering everything from camera set–up and basic Photomix or Photoshop manipulation to toning, reducing noise, creating panoramas, layering images, and adding vignettes and other finishing touches.
Lots of striking full–color images taken around the world illustrate techniques and showcase the creative power of this increasingly popular technique as well as full motion video demonstrating how to use the most popular software.
What is High Dynamic Range Imaging? (HDR)
HDR is when you take 3-5 or 7 photos at different exposure settings, and then merge them into a single image using speciality software. What you get are beautiful photos with incredible detail, controlled lighting and accurate colour. You cannot reproduce an HDR image manipulating a single JPG or RAW image in Photoshop.
The Benefits of HDR
The human eye sees an outdoor or indoor scene quite differently than what can be captured with even top grade professional digital cameras and lenses. Not surprisingly, our eyes are far more complex.
Our eyes adjust for harsher light and render colors and detail more accurately than any single RAW file can capture.
With HDR you can produce wonderfully crisp images that have excellent detail and control of lighting. You do not need to worry about harsh sunlight or very contrasty scenes.
You control your final image
There is a lot of misunderstanding about HDR. As with all new creative techniques with so many creative opportunities available, we all tend to overdo it at the beginning.
This is okay, it is our way of experimenting and finding what we like and don’t like. For business applications, you can simply say what sells; although this may vary from client to client.