HDR photography is very popular these days, as much as it can create amazing images, as much as it can also gives disastrous results!
The method is relatively simple, you take 3 photos or more at different exposures and then you blend them together in a HDR software and the resulting image will exhibit more details in the shadows and highlights and often times, will create exaggerated, more pronounced and vibrant colors.
When you take your 3 photos, you take one that is under exposed, by one or two stops, one that is correctly exposed and one that is over exposed by one or two stops..
You can do this manually with your camera on a tripod or you can do that automatically by going into the settings of your camera and choosing “Exposure Compensation”. Refer to your camera’s manual to then choose 3 different exposures. I usually go with two stops under exposed and over exposed.
Then, to avoid touching your camera and create vibrations that could affect the blending of your three images, it is not a bad idea to set the camera to take picture automatically with a delay of 2 seconds. This will guarantee good results.
After you have taken the pictures, process them in a software like Photomatix which will generate a HDR photo. You can use the presets already in place but I would recommend that you familiarize yourself with the settings by playing with them a little, this is how you will get good results with HDR. Presets will give you good results only on lucky days.
And if you want to get even better results, I suggest you bring your new HDR image into Photoshop and then work on it some more. After getting processed with a HDR software, the colors of your photo will usually need a little work.
HDR photography will be the most useful when the scene you are photographing is very contrasty with hard shadows and highlights. By taking 3 photos or more at different exposures, this will allow you to fix the blown out highlight and the clipped shadows.
Below is an example of a HDR photo and the same one without the HDR effect.
HDR is hit or miss, sometimes it will look better, sometimes it wont.
I hope you learn something reading this blog post, comment below if you have any questions!