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HDR Photography Tips: Love What You Do

Here are three helpful hints and reminders for helping you get better at HDR photography, and a couple showcase images to help steer you in the right direction. There are certainly more ways to shoot better photos for HDR, but here is a good start.

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Photograph the same scene again

Returning to a particular scene to photograph is a great way to learn and grow. You become familiar with the scene and see new things you missed during previous shoots. All the shots in this figure are of the same walkway under construction at a local university. They were shot with different cameras, at different times, in different weather, and with different results. All are of the same subject, and all are in HDR.

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Scout out locations ahead of time — take some practice shots and evaluate them with the expectation of going back. You might end up using some of these shots.

Experiment with different times, angles, and bracketing solutions. Process the photos in your computer and study them to see how you can improve your photography. You will get better at it.

Photograph using AEB

Although you can shoot HDR photography with many types of camera of varying abilities, using auto exposure bracketing (AEB) really rocks. It takes away much of your workload, which allows you to concentrate on setup and composition.

If you have a fast camera, you can use AEB to shoot scenes that are impossible otherwise. The result in this figure comprises five bracketed photos shot without a tripod.

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The only thing that makes this possible (you could lean against a car or a pole, or brace the camera against your body for additional support) is using AEB, having enough ambient light, and a camera with a fast shutter speed. It’s HDR on the go, so to speak.

Moving clouds are particularly hard to shoot manually. Even those that don’t appear to be moving fast can look horrible once you process them in software.

Photograph what you love

As odd as it sounds, you will take better HDR photos if you love doing it. If it’s a chore, a hassle, a distraction, or an otherwise dreary means to an end, you will end up holding back and mechanically executing your craft without much of a personal stake in it.

Loving what you do helps you keep trying, even when it’s hard. It fuels your persistence and motivates you to learn and practice. It also makes it easier to digest the (sometimes dry) aspects of exposure, cameras, gear, specifications, software, and so forth.

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