HDR Photography won’t fix a bad photo

Personally, I have processed hundreds of images using HDR, some have worked really well and some have been a disaster. When you first stumble across HDR you will have this urge to HDR everything… your car, your house, your yard and even your cat will get processed in HDR.

Whilst I am a HUGE fan of HDR, there is definitely a time and a place for it. There are certain times of day and some subjects that just don’t work that well in HDR. I usually look at a scene and make a decision as I stand there, usually based on the contrast between light and dark and make a decision before I hit the shutter button whether or not I am going to create a HDR image.

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Then there are also times when I am not sure if HDR is the answer or not. These are the times I will shoot several exposures just in case. Sometimes it is easier to use just one RAW file than it is to work with several exposures to get the look I am after.

For me, if I am shooting directly into the sun I will usually use HDR to make sure I get the entire dynamic range. The more HDR you shoot the more you will get a feel for when you should (or shouldn’t) use HDR, keeping in mind that it is free to shoot your bracketed exposures and choose later whether to use them all or not.

A time you should avoid using HDR is when shooting portraits of people, HDR does nasty things to skin tones. I have also found that solid whites or pale colors do not fair well when it comes to HDR. If you can shoot your photo and get a well exposed image without HDR then it can be best to just tweak that one file than to start tone-mapping and creating a HDR.

Todays iCandy – Light Down

During my trip through the South Island of New Zealand we had a night in Christchurch. It was interesting to see how the city of Christchurch was slowly rebuilding after the massive earthquakes that had been suffered 2 years earlier. One of the places that I wanted to see was Akaroa, so we jumped in the car and drove around 80 minutes from Christchurch and found this quaint little town. Once we were there I was wishing that this is where we were staying, it is a really nice little town with a lot of great aspects for photography.

This is the Akaroa Jetty, I had a hamburger and chips from the local store up by the lighthouse, and decided that I wanted to get a shot of the jetty during the blue hour once the sun had dipped behind the mountains, and what would make it better than having the light on in the lamp post as well! So I waited patiently and when all the lights came on, this one lamp post did not… so I was let down by this one light… now if I was a photoshop whizz maybe I could fix it…

Akaroa Jetty

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