In late December 2012, I received a phone call from the Caulfield Photographic Society who extended me an invitation to present my workflow on High Dynamic Range photography. The date of the presentation was set for March 18th 2013. I felt fairly comfortable about the presentation. After all, I had quite a few presentations on HDR that I had created over the years. The evening before the presentation, I sat down to review my content, and it was then that I felt that I really should give my HDR tutorial a thorough refresh.
My previous end-to-end HDR workflow was put together in 2010. Since then, a lot has changed. Camera’s have gotten better, software has become more powerful, and my skills have gotten better with time, as has my knowledge on what works and what doesn’t. So at 10p.m. on Sunday night, I sat down to put this presentation together. I was up till 3a.m. at which point I had an initial draft. The following afternoon, with 2 hours remaining for me to leave for the presentation, I applied the finishing touches. I walked out of the door with a presentation that no one had ever seen before, aside of myself when I had been putting it together.
Here is the tutorial. It is available on both Vimeo and YouTube.
In a nutshell, this video addresses the processes of digitally generating multiple exposures from a single RAW file, Composing a tone-mapped HDR image in Photomatix Pro, Post Processing the HDR image in Photoshop using plugins from Topaz Labs and Nik Software; cleaning up any noise using Imagenomics Noiseware, and finally cropping and finishing the image for completion.
As I’ve said in the past, HDR photography merely is a technique that allows Digital Photographers to capture the full range of colours and tones in an image.
While it may enhance the look and feel of an image, it is not an excuse for poor composition, or technique. At the end of the day, the principles of good photography still apply; and these include, composition and lighting. No amount of enhancement in the digital darkroom will ever make a poorly composed shot look amazing.