HDR Photography | Comperhansive free guide to HDR photography

Free guide to HDR photography

Free guide to HDR photography must start to you with two previous articles mentioned on the blog earlier. First, of them is going to be What is HDR? HDR definition. Understanding the definition is important before doing anything practical with photography using hdr effect. The second one is HDR Photography | HDR vs 4k. It is crucial to understand the difference between those two, as they are related very loosely. After theoretical understanding we can hit to the practical part because that is the reason why you clicked on this article, aren’t you?

HDR photo

HDR photo shoot by me

How to start with HDR photography?

This is one of the hardest things – to begin with, something new, but you don’t have to worry. After reading this article you will be able to shoot best photos even if you don’t have professional gear worth hundreds of dollars. The first thing to have is to have time.

You have to understand that learning something does not end within a few moments. If you don’t have enough time for learning something new that can become addictive you better leave this free guide to HDR photography. Reasonable time to spend on learning HDR for experienced with photography is about 4-5 hours a week. If you have just begun with this whole concept you probably should spend over an hour a day or 10 hours combined during a single week. I know it seems to be a lot, but if you want to learn something new in decent time, you should focus on it more.

What do you need to do HDR photos?

This part of the article will vary, depending on that what you already have, and how much can you spend on getting new gear.

Just want to see (have little money and no gear):

This part will be especially good for people who:

  • You are not rich and do not have DSLR camera
  • You don’t have enough money to get one

Now you must ask yourself a crucial question. Do I have a smartphone or digital camera that makes at least decent photos?

If you answered yes, then continue, if not – consider buying one. I know it’s free guide to HDR photography, but you must have at least minimum to do it.

The best option for you is going to be to do photos using your gear and post-process it. For post-production, you can use either free or paid software, which is going to be mentioned later.

Have something to work with:

This option will work best for people:

  • who have a DSLR camera
  • who have at least minimal experience with photography
  • eager to spend some money on software

As I mentioned previously, even though it’s free guide to hdr photography, the better gear you have and the more experience you have the easier it is going to be for you.

If you have a Nikon, Canon, Olympus or Sony DSLR camera you have to change the type of photos that you make from .jpg to raw formats like .nef. Depending on your experience you might try to do the best photo possible without any post-production. The better option will be to use the software after taking a photo. You won’t be surprised if I say that buying computer programs is better than using free ones.

Have experience and gear:

Now you know this won’t be a free guide to HDR photography, as you probably spent few hundred or thousands of buying DSLR camera, and stuff necessary to do photos. You probably own some kind of paid programs for photo edit. If you have over few years of experience in photography this tutorial probably is not for you. It says mainly about basic stuff like how to do photos. How to setup your camera for HDR photography and other related to this.

HDR photo

Without DSLR camera it is hard to get good results

 How do you make HDR photo?

If you have your camera or smartphone or another device ready you need to find a proper place to do a photo. It requires some kind of daylight, so better get outside your room and try to find some nice places to shoot.

Smartphones users, especially iPhone hdr users should click on their camera application HDR mode.

DSLR users must change from fine format to raw format their type of shooting.

Now all you have to do is to press the button. Remember that if you move a bit during taking a photo it won’t be perfect! Stay still, try not to breathe for a second to make the perfect shot.

Free guide to HDR photography is not really free?

As you have already been able to read the majority of text – generally hdr photography requires a professional software. Best known and most popular one is Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop. I suggest buying the first one.

Okay, but you said that this is a free guide to HDR photography. Indeed, I said. There are free alternatives that are really easy to find by googling phrases ‘free alternative Adobe Lightroom’.

The reason why I recommend this program is that most of the profesional photographers including me use this software to improve their photos.

HDR photography

Adobe Lightroom is really great software to change look of hdr photo

Rendering HDR photos

After importing your raw files (for DSLR users) or jpg files (for smartphone users) you have to setup many things in Lightroom. First of all – you need to find right colors using tint option. Very important is also to change contrast and brightness of your photo to get the best effect. Next options require some knowledge but don’t bother experimenting. Highlights, darks, blacks, and whites influence on that how a photo looks. You can fix some other stuff too. Too blurry or too sharp picture can easily be fixed using certain options.

Now we can move to the most important part of the free guide to HDR photography. There is one option in Adobe Lightroom that is the most important for HDR photography. We call it “dehaze”.

Dehazing photo absolutely changes everything. You can simply see changing this option how your pictures turn into great HDR photo. You have to try it with lots of pictures – that is the best way to get good at this.

I hope that information that you got from me today help you to improve and do hdr photos. If you have any question about this free guide to hdr tutorial just comment below. I will try to reply as soon as I can. I wish you all the best in your journey with hdr photography.

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