wildlife photography

How to Finish Your Wild Animal Photos With Tone Mapping

Funny thing about animals is they move around, a lot. So a technique like HDR, which requires several images that are nearly identical in everything but exposure values, is usually not an option for wildlife photographers. Often thought of as mainly a tool for landscape and architecture photography, High Dynamic Range photography captures a series of shots at multiple exposures to provide detail in both highlights and shadows a camera cannot capture in one frame. But, in the case of a running horse or flying bird, even at high shutter speeds and frame rates there will be large differences in their position from frame to frame. This makes multiple exposure HDR pretty impractical, if not nearly impossible, for wildlife and other action photography.

While the multi-shot HDR technique may not work well for high-speed creatures, software like Aurora HDR is a useful tool to put the finishing touches on your wildlife photos. Instead of capturing a series of shots at multiple exposures as you would for landscapes, you use a single shot in a process called “tone mapping”. This is a fast and easy way I use Aurora HDR to Tone Map a single image and add some extra pop and punch to wild animal images.

How to Make Wildlife Photos Look Great with ACDSee Ultimate

With wildlife, moments are fleeting and there are, literally, once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunities. While it is ideal to “get it right in the camera”, I also believe that while we create photos in the camera, we finish them in the digital darkroom. Some moments we capture are worth a little extra work to rescue if a mistake is made in settings or the light wasn’t quite right at the time.

In this article I’ll take you through how I process my wildlife images in the Develop Mode within ACDSee Ultimate 10 to get them looking their best, or to rescue shots that need a little extra help.

Watch a Webinar on Wildlife Photography

In case you missed it… here’s our free webinar on making compelling wildlife photos. Scott Bourne shared secrets and practical advice that went into the making of some of his