Thursday, February 17, 2011

B&W and More with Nik HDR Efex Pro..

Here's an HDR image processed to look more like a B&W photograph rather than on the illustrative side. I couldn't help but use a fisheye lens for a fun look! I have an artistic background, and tend to work in that direction. My buddy, an architectural photographer wouldn't dream of this! It's a tilt shift perspective control lens all the way. That's the great part about HDR, you are the photographer, and decide how to portray/process your images, photorealistic, or illustrative/artistic, or somewhere in between. The subject will help guide you on which direction to take, and it's great to try out different ideas. The presets in Nik HDR Efex Pro are perfect for this. Experiment, have fun!

For high contrast scenes, you may need more than three exposures to capture the entire dynamic range as with the Time Square photo above.

Tips for shooting HDR images.

  • Tripod, cable release, three axis bubble level
  • Lowest ISO
  • Aperture priority or manual (keep the aperture constant)
  • Auto-bracket, or bracket manually 
  • Raw format for best results
  • Lock focus (helpful in low light situations)
  • Double check the histogram 

Generally, you are shooting 0, -2,  +2, and more exposures if needed. For handheld HDR images, try to brace yourself and use auto-bracking. When merging handheld HDR images, use Alignment (I keep it checked). The Ghost Reduction Method works with anything moving in the scene, check this box for trees on a windy day (Adaptive), or Global for anything large moving through your composition.

The most enjoyable part of HDR is working with the images in Nik HDR Efex Pro. Thank you very much to those who listened in on my Nik HDR Efex Pro Webinar yesterday! I enjoyed sharing a few photos and ideas about working with HDR Efex Pro, plus a few finishing touches in Viveza and Color Efex Pro as well.

For the webinar, the images were converted from Raw (the format recommended to shoot in) and Jpegs were used for purposes of demonstration. This allowed us to move quickly through photos over the internet. Nik HDR Efex Pro did a fine job working with the limited resources of Jpegs! However, you'll get the best results by shooting in Raw.

You can download a trial version, and if you like how it works for you, please feel free to use coupon code DSANDIDGE for anything Nik Software. Don't forget the BetterPhoto promo code NIKFRIENDS for $20 off a BetterPhoto course. Make great pictures! ~Deb