Ever since HDR came on the scene (or at least since software made it relatively easy to implement), HDR has divided over how much processing is too much processing. In case you’re new to the arguement, this is an example of a heavily processed HDR shot.
The colors are surreal to the point where there is no way that this photograph could be mistaken for natural. On the other hand is something like this.
While the dynamic range and detail has been increased it is not so overdone that it looks “fake” or over-processed.
Some of this is simply going to come down to personal preference. When I first started doing HDR photography I really went in for the over-processed look. I thought it gave the photos an arty or edgy look to them. The more of them I took, though, and the more that I looked at I realized that often, the over-processed look is just an attempt to cover up what would otherwise be a poorly done shot.
That doesn’t mean that highly processed HDR doesn’t have its place or its purpose. It is just that it seems that many people use it it to cover up for an otherwise poor shot when instead it should be used to enhance a shot that could stand on it’s own.
This is a shot of the Chicago skyline and there is no HDR here, just a single exposure. Other than the fact that I need to straighten the image a little bit, this is a well taken shot but in the end I decided to go with this.
The reason I did this is that one of the things I am for when doing post-processing on my photos is that I try not just to capture what I saw but also the feeling of the moment. Earlier in the day the sky had been extremely dark and overcast with a strong, chill wind blowing in off of the lake. Just after noon, the sun broke through and everything turned from dark, damp, and cold into warm, clear, and sunny. I hoped that the heightened colors would help to capture that difference.
HDR is an important tool in any photographer’s toolbox. While I have heard others say that it should never be used and that it ruins the look of the photograph, I feel that, if used appropriately and not as a crutch it can really help the look and the feel of your photographs.
Last Friday was, of course, Friday the 13th and, being a big fan of the franchise that bear its name, I decided to take a photograph to honor the occasion. While I have neither the money or the space for a permanent studio setup I made due with a simple table top shoot. Continue reading “Friday the 13th Photo Shoot — How it was done” »