Week 11: HDR for floral photography

What do you think? Overblown, hyper-realistic, too vibrant? Or a jump-off-the-screen bundle of June floral abundance?

When you're shooting dark roses like this, combined with lighter colours, your camera won't be able to hold the detail in both the darks and the lights. It's a dynamic range issue. The dynamic range on your camera is less than in your eyes - you can see both shadows in the roses and highlights in the white ammi at the same time. Your camera can't.

The solution is HDR, high dynamic range, photography. 

Without HDR, this is what I achieved:

X-T1, 50mm, ISO200, f8, 1/3 sec, tripod: no HDR

X-T1, 50mm, ISO200, f8, 1/3 sec, tripod: no HDR

Compare it with this HDR image:

Same settings, 3 image HDR. Look at the extra detail in the dark roses.

Same settings, 3 image HDR. Look at the extra detail in the dark roses.

To make an HDR image:

1. Take 3 images using a tripod making sure your subject doesn't move in between shots.

2. Bracket your exposures +/- 1 stop, using shutter speed to make the changes.

3. Make sure focus, white balance and aperture do not change between shots.

4. Combine the 3 shots using HDR software, or the Photo > Photo Merge > HDR function in Lightroom.

These are my 3 original bracketed images straight out of camera:

HDR can be an acquired taste, but once you know how to do it, it can be an extra trick you can try if you have difficult lighting or high contrast subjects. 


FREE BEGINNER'S PHOTOGRAPHY LESSONS

Do you need help with the basics before you get to HDR? It takes less time than you think. Join my free online workshop and start today:


This is one of a series of posts with behind the scenes steps of floral photography. To see the rest of the posts, click here: The Art Of Flower Photography.