Single-Exposure HDR Photography Terminology - dummies

Single-Exposure HDR Photography Terminology

High dynamic range photography has a lot of terminology competing to use the same words (exposure, bracket, Raw). It can be very confusing. For the purpose of clarity, some photographers distinguish between two types of single-exposure HDR, both created from one original Raw exposure (the photo), using the terms single-exposure (Raw) and single-exposure (brackets).

When you see single-exposure (Raw), that indicates that the Raw photo from the camera is opened directly in the HDR application (such as Photomatix Pro) and tone mapped. No intervening steps are necessary. You don’t convert the Raw photo to TIFFs (bracketed or single), nor do you technically generate an HDR file.

Photomatix Pro automatically generates a pseudo-HDR file for you to tone map when you drop the Raw exposure into the interface or open it from the menu. As such, there are no options when you generate the pseudo-HDR file like when you use normal brackets.

Single-exposure (brackets) refers to the process where you take the original Raw photo from the camera and use your Raw editor to create brackets. They are sometimes called them software brackets or pseudo-brackets to differentiate them from bracketed exposures captured at the scene.

After you convert the Raw file into software-bracketed TIFFs or JPEGs, the process continues as if they were standard brackets. The HDR application won’t know the difference, but you might need to clarify the EV range between each image.