poor man's HDR

Disclaimer: this post might contain incorrect photography information. Sorry in advance.

Do you know what HDR photography is? I promised myself I would not google it, because then I would feel obligated to explain it correctly and in detail. With 3 kids running around like maniacs, time does not permit. ;-)

I do know this: it stands for High Dynamic Range, and my understanding is that it involves combining exposures to get a desired result.

Check this out - it's pretty cool!

OK, I wanted to take a picture of this little barn; exposed correctly. But I also wanted a nice, deep blue sky. See what happens when I expose for the barn:


Hmmmmm. Not horrible, but not what I was trying to achieve.

Let's try exposing for the sky:


Oops! Now our barn is a silhouette. Not what I wanted either.

So how can you get both barn and sky exposed the way you want? Get a tripod. Take one picture exposing for the barn, and another exposing for the sky. Two seperate shots, without moving your camera. You need them to be identical in terms of position. (I don't have a tripod that I trust with my new camera, so that's why my picture is not perfect. I was holding the camera in midair and blindly trying to adjust settings without moving it. Pretty much impossible!)

Then, in your editing program (I use CS4), layer one on top of the other. I put the light one on top of the dark one. Then I just masked off the sky, revealing the darker blue sky underneath. Super cool, right?


Yeah, it's kind of fakey looking, but I like it. It's fun! I think for true HDR photography, you can buy some (expensive?) program, but I just wanted to play with it on my own. No, my picture isn't perfect, but it's fun to do. You should try it! If you do, please link me to your picture so I can check it out!


elizabeth said...

it's so wierd you are doing a post on this- I just read all about what this means last week and looked at some photos = some are really cool, and other people say it's not really a photo b/c it's been messed with - anyways -
i will try it for fun -
hope you enjoy your 4th!!!

Ashley Sisk said...

Great post - I also keep beautiful sky shots around in case I need to add one to one of my dull photos. Thanks for the reminder though - I often forget this simply tip.

Robin said...

great job!

Courtney from The Story of Us said...

Great shot Karli and nice explaination. :) I know I've read PW's tutorial about doing this too. Thanks for sharing your way!

ThisMamaRAZZI said...

You are a genius! What were your settings???

Mama Hen said...

Karli I love the third picture and really like that strawberry up top! you are such a great photographer.I want to get a new camera for Christmas. Let me know what you think. I need to be able to capture my daughters pictures a lot faster then what I am doing right now. She is always moving. Have a great 4th of July!

Mama Hen

Courtney from The Story of Us said...

I started to freak out a little bit b/c I couldn't find it either, however, I finally found it. Here it is: http://thepioneerwoman.com/photography/2007/10/fixing-exposure-after-the-fact/.
In the process of searching for it, I did come across many many tutorials I'd never read before so I'm glad you asked me about this!
P.S. Her tut. is different than yours...I realize that now, but it does have a similiar outcome.:)

Adeena said...

Cool idea! :D I'll have to remember that one.

Lynda said...

That seems like a really easy way to do it! I'm pretty sure Photoshop has an HDR maker built into it, at least my CS3 does. I've tried it before several times, but I'm always too lazy to break out the tripod so the results suck.

You did an amazing job with your quick-HDR! The shot looks awesome! Though I liked it just fine as it was originally exposed. :)

The Mommy said...

That IS super cool!