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Get Started with HDR Photography

There’s a lot to high dynamic range photography. One of the things that makes it most interesting is that it has elements that appeal to whatever side of your brain you use most, or both. If you’re a technically minded photographer, HDR offers you a serious tool to pursue all the dynamic range you can shake a stick at.

If you want to shoot HDR because it looks cool, you’re in good company, too. HDR also has the depth to interest artists and craftsmen, dreamers and realists.

As you continue to discover HDR photography, consider where you want to take it and how to get there. These topics are a good place to start:

  • Deciding what you want to create: Think about what you like to shoot, how much effort you want to put into it, and what generally floats your boat. Let your passion for photography guide you into HDR, and don’t be afraid to diversify your interests.

  • Discovering your comfort level: HDR photography should fit within the boundaries of your life. That doesn’t mean you should take it easy and not push yourself. It means you don’t have to let it take over your life.

    Given certain adjustments, HDR should fit within the time and money parameters that you set. Decide what level of effort makes you happy, and then get out there and do it!

  • Costing it out: Taking digital photos costs very little. Compared with the old days, you don’t have to buy rolls of film and pay to have the photos developed. That alone makes today’s pursuit of photography very enjoyable. Take 2,000 photos over a weekend if you want to!

    You do, however, have to buy a camera, memory cards, batteries, other gear, and have a computer and the software to make HDR work.

  • Defining your workflow: Workflow is a buzzword in the digital photo world, and for good reason. It just buzzes. Bzzzzz. Bzzzz. There is a distinct workflow to HDR (shown in this chapter and in the basic organization of this book), but within the overall framework, there are plenty of options (details of which are contained throughout). Find what is comfortable for you.

  • Experimenting: Don’t get yourself too tied down to a particular way of doing things to the exclusion of all others. Experiment. Try different lenses, approaches, techniques, styles. Stay fresh!

  • Growing: Did you know that personal growth is a growth industry? Yeah, it’s fun to grow. It exercises your brain and keeps you happy. Whether you’re picking up HDR at 9 or 90, you can grow with HDR.

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