I recently wrote an article for a photography magazine with 6 tips. I thought I’d repeat them here! You’ll see I make a few references to Aurora HDR Pro — so grab that if you don’t already have it!
1) Get your camera into Auto-bracketing mode. I take just 3 exposures most of the time at -2, 0, and +2. I also shoot in RAW mode so you’ve got a little more juice in the light to play with later in post.
2) Collect Auto-bracketed shots everywhere, even if you don’t think it’s an HDR situation. If your camera has Auto-bracketing, go ahead and keep it on most of the time. When you drag a series of photos into Aurora HDR Pro (or most HDR programs), you’ll be surprised at some of the textures and colors that come out of the woodwork.
3) If you’re shooting in the bright sun, go ahead and set your Exposure Compensation to -1. That means your three exposures will be at -3, -1, and +1. I find that the +2 on a bright day is just TOO bright and has no positive effect on the final creation.
4) Also, if you’re shooting in the middle of the day, don’t bother with a tripod. Just go handheld. All these programs nowadays are so good at auto-aligning that you don’t have to worry about it. Just save the tripod for sunset and night shots!
5) If you find that processing the photos is going a bit slow on your computer, just use JPGs (or export to JPGs) before bringing the shots into Aurora HDR Pro or any other program. Honestly, I can’t see a big difference in bringing in the RAW files at all. And I really pay attention to these things!
6) When processing, be sure to use layers to make different parts of your photo look unique. For example, you may not want the “whole thing HDR’ed” — maybe you just want the buildings to be highly textured with an HDR look, but not so much for the trees or skies. A common mistake most people make is they try to give the entire photo the same look… I think it’s great to make some parts smooth, some parts glowy, some parts texturey, other parts saturated… Each photo will come out very unique, much like you… think of yourself like a chef, organically creating a reflection of you and the scene at the time.
Daily Photo – The Burj Khalifa at Night
There's no way to take a bad photo of this thing! Actually, I did notice a bunch of people with mobile phones having a heck of a time trying to fit the whole thing into frame. They would be taking photos of their friends and in almost every case, they had to lay on the 100 degree concrete and aim up to get the whole thing in… it was actually funny, walking around and watching everyone laying on the ground with their phones!