How To HDR (Simple)

This is a quick and dirty method to capturing an image with more dynamic range. Simply take one photograph of the thing that is super bright (in this case, it was the sky with the sun behind the clouds), then take a second photograph of the thing that is super dark (in this case, it was the landscape foreground), then combine the two in Photoshop and BAM – You’ve got a photo that is improved significantly. It’s recommended to use a tripod, Aperture Priority mode, manual focus, and Spot Metering. I shot these in JPEG format because I am lazy and forgot to use RAW. Using RAW would have been a good idea.

You can download the original photographs I took if you want to follow along.

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11 Responses to How To HDR (Simple)

  1. Jim Martin says:

    Hello…..I’m intrigued by this video, and the way you took the two photos. My question is this: I am using a Nikon D40, so my spot metering is assigned to only the center of one the three focusing areas. I noticed in the video that you seem to be able to move your spot metering area anywhere within the viewfinder frame.

    Since I’m not able to do that, and was trying to duplicate your photo, I’d have to move the camera between shots, so that the sky area would fall into one the three “brackets” on the D40, and same thing for metering the ground.

    Am I missing something here, or is it as I described? My only concern about moving the camera between shots is being to align both images when post processing in PS.



  2. Hey Jim, instead of moving the camera between shots to get the sky or ground inside a focusing point, I would simply take the shots at different shutter speeds. Just eyeball it on the back of your preview screen, it doesn’t have to be perfect. The spot metering method I used is just a way to speed things up.

  3. Gordon Betsill says:

    Evan, I love your work. On many of your sites you refer to gels. This may be difficult to comprehend
    but many people have no idea what a gel is or even how to research it.
    One of the easiest ways for the average person to locate them is to visit their local community theater
    and offer to buy a few sheets. If you catch the right person they may just let you have a few sheets
    free but even if you have to pay, it’s still the easiest way to obtain them.
    I’m a lighting designer and sometimes work in community theater if it’s a production that I ‘m really interested in. All artists do free work from time to time.
    Thanks so much.

  4. panji says:

    hai evan, you already give me a lot of inspiration to make photo more beautiful thx. i’m from Indonesia we have a lot of beautiful place here. come an visit us.

  5. Said Ali says:

    is this photoshop lightroom?!! which photoshop are you using please?!

  6. Said Ali says:

    sorry for double posts sir , but how i can make double shots like this with mobile phone (Nokia 808 pureview 41 MP).. thanks

  7. I’d wish my Canon could move its spot-metering point 😀
    Great tutorial Evan.

  8. Phil K says:

    @Said Ali it’s pretty similar. In my Pureview 808 I use the bracketing feature (in Capture settings) to take multiple images with different exposure settings.
    Then just skip forward to the Photoshop part of the tutorial and the rest is the same.

  9. Abie says:

    Great job! I love the after-effect, its so dramatic… thanks for the tutorial. Hope you can do more beginner tutorials coz its really helpful!

  10. ItsMeKat says:

    Evan, I tried this and when I apply the gradient nothing changes. I tried from top to bottom, reversed and back again, looks the same. I double checked your directions and that the layer was highlighted etc. What am I doing wrong? Thanks in advance.

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