Monday, January 11, 2010

My LR in HDR

HDR means "High Dynamic Range." It's a digital photo processing technique that can make my living room look like this. It's really cool in a bigger picture. Thanks to Blayne Beacham whose blog encouraged me.

And that's really what it looks like, except it doesn't. I've never taken a picture that looks just like the real thing, not really. HDR seems to bring out the details and textures, gives you more to explore, just like the real room.

This is a sunny midafternoon with no lights on, no flash. The big window faces east.

Here is how it's done.

1. Put your camera on a tripod and aim it. Make sure it doesn't move.
2. Take at least 3 pictures with different exposures.
3. Put the pictures into an HDR program.
4. Marvel as wonders of modern science happen on your computer. The HDR program somehow combines elements from the different exposures.
5. Regret you didn't study your physics as much as you should have.

Here are my 3 starting pictures. The light one:

The medium one:

The dark one:

What you need:

1. You need a camera that allows you to adjust your exposure.
Most point and shot cameras don't. My new Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 point and shoot does.

2. I did read my instruction book and found a feature called "Auto Bracket." When I turn it on and press the shutter button, it automatically takes 3 pictures, each with a different exposure. Wahoo!

3. You need the software. Blayne uses Photomatix Pro which has a free version. I used the free open source software Luminance HDR" Click here to download Luminance HDR for Windows."

4. You need some time. Luminance HDR does rocket science on photos. The terms and actions bear no resemblance to anything I've ever known. And there are options. Maybe Photomatics Pro is a little easier to use.

Here are the parameters for my HDR picture, in case I need to repeat them. I think I understand "Saturation Factor" but that is about it.
Luminance 2.0.0-beta tonemapping parameters:
Operator: Mantiuk06
Contrast Equalization factor: 0.77
Saturation Factor: 1.28
Detail Factor: 76.1
PreGamma: 1
This is processor intensive computing. Even if you have fast computer, it takes a bit of time to process the images with different transformations and parameters.

5. You'll want to play around all day long.
My advice is, if you have a family, a job, like to eat or sleep, don't try HDR at home.

Anyway, now I've done my first HDR and I think it's pretty cool.



  1. that is very cool! Blayne's blog is inspiring with photos, isn't it? Puts my amateur photo-shooting to shame... :(

  2. The kids can make their own dinner - I am going to try this.

  3. YEA YEA YEA!!!! Congratulations Terry! Addicting isn't it. Don't you like the way it makes the fabric feel like you can touch it? Keep playing with it. The more you know, the more "real-life" you can make them look (it took me 3 weeks to figure that out, and it was a very frustrating 3 weeks.). Your photo looks great though, so you probably don't have as much work to do as I did. I am about to try a new program for HDR. I will let you know what I think.

  4. What fun I want to do that! Have you sent me down a road of no return? LOL

    Love your living room...very cozy!!


  5. Michelle, this is a serious slippery slope.

  6. I really like how shiny and dark the floor looks. What would it look like if you did it to someone's face?

  7. I must be the only person who doesn't like this look, there's a guy in HOuston that does this to his real estate pictures and I don't care for it at all! all of this houses look exactly the same. exactly. I just don't get the excitement over this at all. sorry to be all nego. I'm not really a nego, but this is just my opinion, fwitw!!!!!


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