editing HDR photos, and creating graphic design photos

I have been working on a couple of photography projects over the last few months... HDR photography, and graphic design in photography. 

HDR Photography; What is it?

I think some feel that HDR photography as pushing the limits of contrast, saturation and clarity in editing. If HDR photography is not merely pushing your editing techniques to create the surrealistic look of a HDR photo, then what is it?

High Dynamic Range photography, in a nutshell, is the difference between the darkest dark and the lightest light captured in a photo. 

How to Create HDR Photos | Life Thru the Lens | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

To create HDR images you'll need....

~ A tripod, especially if you are trying to capture a cotton candy water scene. However, I did take these photos hand held, but I was wishing I had trekked my tripod, around the lake, to this point.  

~ You'll need to learn how to shoot a bracketed series of photos. (Bracketing.... taking 3 plus photos at different exposures: one underexposed, one overexpose, and one exposed correctly.) I took two shots of each of these photos. One exposed for the sky and one exposed for the rocks. However, I usually take between 3 to 9 photos for an HDR capture.

~ A Program that can merge your photos, or in other words photo-staking. I like photo merge HDR in Lightroom, and HDR Effect Pro 2 by Nik in Photoshop. {If you haven't heard Google made their Nik collection free. It is a great program that I have been using for years now. If you would like to learn how to use the Nik platform Tim Grey is now offering his Nik Collection Class free.}

How to Create HDR Photos | Life Thru the Lens | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

HDR Photography Tips....

~ Moving subjects are practically impossible to make HDR. Trees, plants, and moving people create ghosting in HDR images once they are merged, so a still subject is optimal. 

~ You'll want to capture a scene with a drastic range of light and dark areas. Although my captured photos did have a wide range of darks and lights, I think I just barely had enough contrast work with.  

~Shoot RAW. I always shoot RAW, especially for HDR photography because I will want as much information as possible to work with when I edit my photos.

Lately I keep getting the question.... is that an edited photo? I love Matt Klowskowski's answer to that question, "Of course it is edited!" ALL photos shot in RAW need editing, whether it be a small amount of sharpening or an overall sweep of hand edits. You can think of editing like this.... capturing a SOOC (straight out of the camera) shot is like sitting down with a bowl of your favorite ice cream. Editing is making that bowl into an ice cream sundae. 

How to Create HDR Photos | Life Thru the Lens | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

~ Practice makes perfect. My first HDR attempt wasn't perfect. I think you remember my moving water shot from a couple weeks ago. It may not have been flawless, but it was fun to try to capture the scene, and to edit it.

"The Purpose of art is washing the dust of the daily life off our soul." (Pablo Picasso) Art should be fun! If you are stretching your abilities with a new technique and it isn't fun, set it aside for a little while, and then come back to it.   

A Graphic Design Project....

A Graphic Design Project | Sylvan Lake | Life Thru the Lens | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

I have been working on a graphic design project for the last month, or so. My main focus was to learn how to create a photo with a painted, or watercolor look. Once I figured that out, I thought it might be fun to create a series of photos, and make them into postcards. I love the National Park posters, and decided to pattern my postcards after that look, but not copy it completely. Some of you might recognize this lake; it has become extremely popular for treasure hunters over the last few years. Sylvan lake is my favorite lake in The Black Hills, and yes this is the lake that was feature in National Treasure 2, and no there is no treasure under the lake. :-D 

What Projects are you working on.... home, hobby, personal, work?