Friday, January 6, 2012

How to take HDR photos with a point and shoot

Not happy with the source images I used in the my earlier HDR attempt I wanted to try again with an outdoor scene that hopefully lends itself better to HDR. This afternoon I had a chance to try again with a scene this time with a point and shoot camera rather than a DSLR.

The first thing you need to know when using a Point and Shoot camera (at least with many models available today) you don't have the option to automatically 'bracket exposures' with just 1 click of the shutter. Therefore on my P&S camera I elected to take 3 shots in Tv (Shutter) priority mode adjusting the shutter speed to let in more light with each subsequent shot in the hope that when combined this would allow the shadows of the trees and reflections in the water to be correctly exposed as well as the bright sky. See the source images below.

Shutter speed 1/640 s

Shutter speed 1/60 s

Shutter speed 1/5 s

Using a trial version of the HDR Expose software the source images were imported and combined to give the following result and although I was hand holding the camera very steady against the top of wall on the bridge this image clearly shows there is some movement between shots because you can see there is a distinct blurriness to the image.

HDR Expose result

Since my original post I have since discovered that Adobe Photoshop (which I have access to on my wife's PC) has the ability to import multiple images and combine them simply by choosing File>Automate>Merge to HDR which will eventually create a 32-bit HDR image file that can then be converted back to 16-bit using Image>Mode>16 Bits/Channel and saved as a PNG file. The results of which can be seen below.

Adobe Photoshop result

With this option available I would have to recommend that anyone with access to Adobe Photoshop give this a try rather than investing your hard earned dollars in yet another piece of software such as HDR Expose. I will most likely remove the trial version now that I know any future cravings I have for HDR can be satisfied in Photoshop which I think you will agree has done a much better job, none of the blurriness that was evident in the earlier HDR Expose attempt.

If you have any other suggestions then please feel free to share them in the comments section below, I would love to see your examples if you have followed the above techniques too.

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