HDR - What is HDR, Why and When to HDR, How to shoot and process

HDR is High Dynamic Range photography or to some Highly Disturbing Results photography :) . Basically HDR means different things to different folks!

In the initial days (just 6-7yrs ago) even slight manipulation in photoshop was considered blasphemy by the purists that moved in from from the slides/film world to the digital world.

Things have changed since representing art is a personal expression and not what somebody else dictates. Van Gogh's paintings are shakey, Monet's paintings are blurry, Dali's work is twisted, with each artist trying to representing what they visualized or conceived in their heads to bring out the results.

HDR to me, provides that opportunity to post process/construct a shot in a way that I had visualized in my mind just before pressing the trigger. Despite being obscure, fuzzy and unsure about the final results, I know that this shot has a potential to be recreated in a certain way. One bottom line - always strive to take a good shot and then use post processing to make it better.


The session is divided into two parts

  • Learning (core theme of this group!)

1. What is HDR - a basic/traditional explanation- 5minutes

2. Why to HDR - goes hand in hand with the above - 5minutes

3. When to HDR - this is a personal choice, but as you shoot and process more, you end up applying HDR technique for specific things/looks, or perhaps expanding it to your entire shooting range - 10mins

4. How to shoot with your camera - bring in your camera - 5-10mins

5. How to process/tools available - there are so many tools available, but I will cover a couple - Nik Software HDR Efex and Photomatix. Bring in your laptop if possible - 10minutes

  • Practicing (it is always fun to shoot!)

1. Stroll around downtown - I know a few nearby spots where we can quickly try this out. I will go over any difficulties that anyone is facing. 30mins

By the time we are out for shooting, the light will be ideal to try out HDR. Feel free to bring in your minimalistic tripod, but being a learning session, handheld will work as well.


  • Applying


1. We reconvene for post processing and critique. This is the key on how to finally bring forth your visual construction.

2. I will let you play around and show what you can get away with!


What to Bring (optional but handy):

1. Your camera and any wide angle lenses.

2. Your laptop - possibly loaded with trail version of photoshop, photomatix, nik efex pro. Trail versions are fine.

3. Enthusiasm to learn and constructively contribute!


Hope to see you there.


PS: feel free to shoot any questions before the meetup. Ample parking can be found around the area. Use quarters/coins. Usually parking on 17th ave after Broadway is free after 6pm.


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  • Dev - e.

    Pretty stunning shots Laura! It will be wonderful if you can go ahead and upload a few in the meetup HDR album :)
    Same goes to everyone that want to share their shots! Thanks.

    July 18, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thank you Erin.

    July 17, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    I finally got my first HDR photos done. They can be seen at:

    July 15, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thank you so much for putting this together. This was very informative.

    July 9, 2011

  • Frank's Photography, L.

    It was great, but wish it was on a large screen so everyone can see.

    July 9, 2011

  • Dev - e.

    Hi Erin,
    Welcome to NDSLR meetup group! For this meetup, you don't have to bring in your laptop. It is optional since I will be giving the demo in mine, while anyone who brings in will be helped on how to use the software.
    Hope you can still make it!

    July 4, 2011

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