*New Aurora HDR Pro for Mac OS from @wearmacphun

AuroraHeader

While the practice of merging exposures is a topic of much debate, I don’t really care.  If you’re not into it, I totally understand and respect that.  I too enjoy capturing and processing final images using single frames for 90%+ of my own photography.  For the other stuff though, I do love me a nicely balanced, merged exposure and have for many, many years.  I find the ability to bracket and merge in post a valuable tool when needing to be in and out of a space in a shorter amount of time (as opposed to setting up multiple lights for each and every shot which can limit the total amount of finished shots in the same time period).  I’d like to say that clients will happily pay for 4 or 5 hours while you set up and shoot, but I’ve not found many that will A) have that much down time to shoot unless I want to shoot at 3 in the morning, which I totally don’t) or B) have the budget for, or see the value in a photographer that takes that long to shoot a space.  Time is money, and the more I can save myself (and price my time to the client accordingly) the better off I’ll be. 

Over my personal journey with HDR, I’ve used quite a few programs (HDR Soft/Photomatix, Everimaging HDR, HDR Efex, Photoshop…) and when Macphun and Trey Ratcliff recently announced Aurora HDR for Mac users, I was very interested.  Much of my actual paid photography work falls into the interior design and hospitality realm, working with that wonderful group of folks at the ELK Collective.  

My goal has always been a natural representation of light and space, which as many know, can be tricky when tonemapping images through an HDR program.  When shooting an interior space, I want to take advantage of the actual dynamic range, getting detail in the highlights and shadows when and where I feel necessary, not just tone mapping for a more dramatic effect.  Well, I chose to process my most recent shoot using solely Aurora HDR Pro, and here’s what I found out about that program along the way…   Continue reading

*Everything you need to know about digital photography (well, almost). Two years of tips, tricks and various freebies, revisited.

With my blog’s second anniversary coming up, I wanted to thank everyone that has stopped by, commented and added to the content.  It’s been a fun couple of years and has been far more educational for me than I’d ever thought it would have been.  I wanted to make a list of my more popular posts as well as some that can help some of us who may be just stumbling into the fold.  Any of us who have recently acquired a new camera and may be wanting to learn how to use it to its potential, or are looking to build up a few post processing techniques, I’ve compiled some of the more useful and popular posts below…

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*HDR 101, Part 2 – Processing Dynamic Range

My final result

We’ve been out capturing dynamically diverse scenes in Part 1 of the HDR 101 series, now we get them onto the computer and realize that there are a variety of ways to achieve our vision.  From free-ware to thousands of dollars worth of software, there are options.  Some are better than others, and some offer a better bang for the buck (in my opinion).  Regardless, most all HDR software out there will offer you a free trial, so you can decide which works better for your vision.  That said, here are a couple techniques using Photoshop, Everimaging HDR, and a very popular HDR software, Photomatix, along with discount codes if you choose to purchase🙂  Read on for more…

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*HDR 101, Part 1 – Capturing Dynamic Range

the scale of luminance values as far as the eye can see…

Politics, Religion, Economics, HDR.  There seems to be little in the photographic world that starts such heated discussions as the concept of HDR photography and processing.  Truth of the matter is, it is a very popular technique and can be done with a multitude of results, some more visually shocking than others, but I believe HDR gets a bad rap too often.  Let me start off by saying, I am not an HDR expert.  I do not feel that my techniques are an end all by any means, but I have figured out some very helpful techniques that I feel can benefit those looking to get into, or better understand capturing and processing HDR imagery.  For me, capturing the dynamic range of a scene is the primary concern while the way these bracketed images are processed is an entirely personal decision.  Too often, I see people tonemapping single images, or running them through an HDR-like software to give it that grungy, gritty look and calling it “HDR.”  While many of those images have a very cool look to them in their own right, it still doesn’t quite qualify as a high dynamic range photo by definition in many cases.  C’mon in and we can discuss ways to capture the whole dynamic range of any particular scene along with some tips and tricks.

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*High Dynamic Range with Photomatix

Under the bridge, completely enveloped in shadow...

Are you ever frustrated by scenes that are too dynamically diverse having to lose your highlight and shadow info to expose for the midtone ultimately losing the shadows to dark noisy areas and blowing out your highlights resulting in detail-less white blotches?  I think that I can help.  This isn’t the only HDR or Photomatix tutorial on the web, but you’re here, and it’s free.  Regardless of how you feel about some of the HDR imagery that can bombard the senses, combined with the proper capture technique HDR software can help achieve, photographically ,the dynamic range that the human eye is capable of seeing.  By using this method of combining bracketed exposures, you can save yourself hours of dodging and burning, masking and aligning in Photoshop, with simple HDR software, or you can create your own fantasy cartoonish grunge-scape if that’s what you’re after.  I will walk you through step by step instructions regarding the proper capture and postprocessing  techniques using the popular HDR software, Photomatix from HDRsoft.  I also have a discount code to offer you 15% off (TRP15) if you choose to purchase the software.  To follow along, Photomatix is available as a non-expiring full free download (it will just watermark your images) to use and feel out the benefits to this very popular tool in digital photography.   Read on for links, techniques and a software discount…

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