It’s a great time for photographers. The technology has advanced so much that we now have full-sized cameras that can fit in our pockets. We can also make phone calls and surf online. Millions of photos are taken and shared by an almost endless global audience every day. Software tools, also known as the “digital black room”, are now more powerful than ever. They allow us to tap into our inner artists in just a few clicks.
There are still many frontiers to conquer. There are many areas of great interest in light-field photography, 360o photographs, Virtual Reality and animating still images to take advantage of full dynamic range.
What is dynamic range? The human eye can see details in both the dark and the light areas. The dynamic range of human vision is relatively wide. Even the most advanced cameras today have a narrower dynamic range. Cameras cannot capture good detail in dark shadows and bright light simultaneously.
Aurora HDR, a tool that can combine multiple images from different exposures into one “high dynamic range (HDR) image, is good. This article will show you how it works. I started with two images from the same scene taken in Norway recently.
You take two or more photos. One is brighter to show detail in shadows, and the other is darker so you can see details in bright spots. This brighter photo shows the detail in the trees but is washed out. This image will be best used in its darker parts.
This darker photo shows the sky in detail, but the trees are completely shadowed. This image will be more interesting if we use the lighter areas.
Next, use a program such as Aurora HDR to combine the two photos. The darkest areas of the bright photo are seamlessly merged with those of the darkest image to create one HDR image.
STEP 1: Shooting bracketed photos
Modern cameras allow you to take photos that are both brighter and darker. You will find instructions in the user manual for taking multiple photos with different exposure levels. This is also called “bracketed” photography. You can create many levels (e.g., Various brightness levels (e.g., very dark, very light, very dark and very bright). Aurora HDR 2017 allows you to use images with multiple brightness levels, but I will only be using 2 images for this tutorial.
STEP 2: Combine the images
Start Aurora HDR 2017, and click on the Load Image button. Next, select the images from your hard drive.
STEP 3 – Start with a simple preset
Clicking the Create HDR button at the bottom of the Merge preview window will merge all images and open Aurora HDR 2017. You will see the “Presets” section at the bottom. These presets are easy to apply and allow you quick access to different looks and styles for your HDR images. These styles range from natural-looking HDR images that look very realistic to more creative and artistic styles.
You can choose from many presets, which will make the process quick, simple, and enjoyable. There are many options for those who want more control over their image. This tutorial will use a “Realistic” preset. The preset you will affect the controls in the Tools panel. This allows you to modify any parameter that you wish.
STEP 4 – Modify your image using editing tools
I also love the “Top & Bottom adjustment” control. The image below shows me increasing the exposure at the top and decreasing the contrast. The bottom portion of this image has a slightly warmer look (+21).
As my final act, I want to heat some more areas of the image. To do this, I will need a new Layer. Then, I’ll use brushes and masking to edit the images. The “+” symbol in the Layers palette’s title bar will add an “Adjustment Layer”. This will allow me to modify some aspects of the image without affecting my previous edits.
Step 5 – Admire your final image!
HDR is an amazing technique that photographers use to achieve the impossible. It allows them to increase their dynamic range, match the human eye’s vision, and create well-balanced and powerful images. Aurora HDR is a powerful tool that can enhance your images. It’s best to try it.