1. HDR is merely a method for capturing the dynamic range which our eye sees but our camera does not. What you do with the HDR photo after it satisfies that goal is purely up to you and your artistic vision. There is no “right” way. Don’t let the HDR haters tell you what to do. You’re entitled to do what you like. I personally try to stick with what I “saw” but that doesn’t mean you have to.
2. There are five basic rules to getting the BEST HDR shots you can get. While these aren’t all inclusive, and while there are ways around each of them, if you’re just starting out try to stick with these rules. Better to know them THEN break them.
a. Use a tripod and cable release or self-timer.
b. Use a consistent f/stop for all shots – change only shutter speed. (Shoot in manual or aperture priority to do this.)
c. Lock down your focus.
d. Set a specific white balance for the scene not AWB.
e. Turn off in-camera auto enhancements.
3. Shoot in RAW mode to capture the most dynamic range.
4. Use a software program like Photomatix Pro to create a tone mapped image which is a combination of the HDR shots.
5. Creating the tone map is just the beginning. For best results go into a program like Photoshop to tweak the image, deal with noise, sharpness, cropping etc to get the final picture just the way you like it.
Of course there’s much more to shooting HDR than I have listed in this post. These are just some of the things that you need to get started. Have fun.
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