HDR Tip 1 – Create Your Own Future

Trey’s Note: this is part of a week-long HDR Tip session with Rick Sammon. Pop over to Rick’s Blog to see his for the day! ย 

If you want to find out more, feel free to see the free HDR Tutorial.

When I give these tips, just imagine a Michael-Weston-voiceover.

Sometimes, when you’re out shooting, it’s best to plan to improvise. You gotta have a plan, but you also need to think fast on our feet. Many photographers (myself included) have an introverted side, where you kind of feel comfortable blending into the background, quietly making magic through your lens… but that won’t help you change your future when opportunity arises spontaneously.

As an HDR photographer, I am intimately aware of “HDR situations” — those times when there is more light than my camera can handle. This was one of those situations. I had already scouted the entire island of Ibiza, and I knew where the sun was setting and it’s relative location to landmarks of interest. So I knew this beach was going to be perfect. It was going to be a great sunset shot anyway, but then I saw this Italian girl with some friends. She was jumping around, happy, and very spunky. I think anyone that wears a bathing suit like that has a bit of spunky-coefficient that is to be expected. Anyway, I thought she would add something to the beauty of the scene, so to speak, and I went over to talk to her.

She didn’t speak a lick of English, but there is an international language of gestures and “fun communication”. If you both go into it with a nice effort, then it’s really fun to try to talk to someone with this way. Anyway, she said her name was “Wendy” – Italian is “Guendalina”. I asked her if I could take a photo while she strolled into the ocean. She excitedly said yes and bounced down to the beach. I already had my tripod set up with the background how I wanted it, and I motioned, giving her a specific direction in which to walk. Without a hitch, she walked right in with no problems, and I fired away. There was no need for a re-take, we got it on the first try.

I normally would take 5 exposures here, from +2 to -2. If the sun was up, I would have done +3 to -3. But, this gal wasn’t standing still, nor did I want her to. Since I always shoot in RAW mode (JPEG is for children), I knew that one of my middle exposures would be perfect. I used one of those RAWs to create the final HDR you see here.

High Dynamic Range Photo

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  • Thats a great story and an important tip to keep in mind. I know sometimes it’s difficult for me to ask to take a picture of someone. I do suppose if you can do it with a girl that looks like that, than I should be able to under normal circumstances. Thank you for all the how-to’s and tutorials. They have really helped and inspired my photography. I am looking forward to reading more of your hdr tips this week.

  • Dan

    This image always sticks in my head for some reason, Can never forget about it :D. lol.

    I started doing a ‘tip a day’ last week, feel free to check them out ๐Ÿ™‚


  • Jeanine

    Thanks for sharing the details on this image. I often wondered about the backstory. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.

  • Michael

    Now let’s see the front of her ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • When using a RAW for HDR do you alter the exposure of the shot in photoshop’s RAW settings to make 3 different exposed images and then import them into photomatix from there? Or does photomatix only need the one RAW to make an HDR image to tone map? I just started using photomatix recently and have only tonemapped bracketed images… havent tried the single shot RAW method yet.
    Thanks for all the great info!

  • Superb image, Trey. While the scenery is amazing, adding the human element takes the image over the top. Glad to know you’re a man of many talents and can speak the international language of gestures too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Val

    Love the Tatoo. Nice job.
    Oh! And the rest of the image is also great. It is “Trey Speak!” (-: (-:

  • Jeff,
    Photomatix can generate the HDR image from one single RAW file. You do not need to import multiple images to create an HDR image on Photomatix.

  • paddy bell

    By super imposing that lovely bod you sure did increase the range. Did she have to slip into something cool or was she already that eloquently dressed

  • Dennis

    OMG I love the bunset I could look at it all day long. or was that a Rize? LOL

  • Amazing photo, and great tip! I once tried to shoot HDR without much effort. With your tips and tutorials I’m into it again… Now you got me back in the game! Thanks a million… Well done with all the advices, great contribution to the fellow photographers. Keep up the good work!

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