15 Replies Latest reply on Apr 27, 2015 4:10 AM by 99jon

    HDR best with just two shots (-2 and +2)?

    JimHess Adobe Community Professional & MVP

      I don't want to start a debate about Scott Kelby. But he claims that "the engineers claim" that you will get better results with just two shots, -2 EV and +2 EV, then you will with more images. Any thoughts?

        • 1. Re: HDR best with just two shots (-2 and +2)?
          99jon Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          It's an interesting theory Jim. Thanks for the idea. Will need to check it out, but should be quicker with two images.

          • 2. Re: HDR best with just two shots (-2 and +2)?
            Bob Somrak Level 5

            The Lightroom Queen Victoria is saying the same thing.

             

            Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 4.15.46 PM.png

            • 3. Re: HDR best with just two shots (-2 and +2)?
              nagol5178SN Level 1

              I do a lot of HDR, as I am mostly a Landscape guy. I do HDR in Photoshop by painting what I want in or out of each layer by stacking them or I use the simple HDR merge that is now in Lightroom CC/6 but was also in Photoshop CC.

               

              The thing is, after merging it, it might not look that impressive. However, if you shot RAW, and you should be, ALL of that RAW data from those 3 photos are in that HDR file. Meaning, Shadows, Highlights, Exposure, etc will go much further up or down than with a single picture.

               

              To your question; How much RAW data do you feel you need? The more photos there are, the more dynamic range is there. I tend to do what you suggested a lot. However, 3 shots, one exposed like a normal photo and then the extra 2, -2EV and +2EV. I do a lot of them that way.

               

              If it's a shot that's import to me though, I will do 5 instead of 3. It doesn't mean that I will actually use all 5, however I have the extra 2 incase I feel they are needed. Sometimes, if a sky is blown out, -2EV isn't enough. Its better to go ahead and take the 5 so you can have them and use 3 if you don't need them. With a bright sky I'd do as many as possible.

              • 4. Re: HDR best with just two shots (-2 and +2)?
                landoloons Level 1

                nagoll5178SN wrote:..

                ALL of that RAW data from those 3 photos are in that HDR file. Meaning, Shadows, Highlights, Exposure, etc will go much further up or down than with a single picture.

                 

                 

                 

                Except that Shadows and Highlights don't, as far as I can see. They have the same range as always.  I let LR6 'auto tone' an HDR merge and set the Highlights to -100 and Shadows to +70.  Take the original 0EV image and apply those same settings - in fact just copy-and-paste the Develop settings from the merged image - and you get identical results.   Yes there's more range in the merged image, but we can't get at it with those sliders.

                • 5. Re: HDR best with just two shots (-2 and +2)?
                  Wolf Eilers Level 4

                  I haven't had the time yet to experiment but I believe I heard/read that although two shots (-2EV and +2EV) might provide the dynamic range more shots will provide better noise reduction.

                  • 6. Re: HDR best with just two shots (-2 and +2)?
                    ManiacJoe Adobe Community Professional

                    I have seen a video or two where Scott and RC did some quick HDR tests comparing the results of 2 vs 5(?) exposures. In my opinion, which was better is open to debate (in the low-res video I like the 5-exposure better); however, the two exposure version was a little faster to generate.

                    • 7. Re: HDR best with just two shots (-2 and +2)?
                      BlueCosmo5050 Level 1

                      Yes, the 2 shots tends to get the best results. Just to be safe, take more if you want to. Doesn't mean you have to use it as previously said. Sometimes the regular exposure shot kinda ruins it. I will show you an example of some test shots I took with my new 16-35mm FE Zeiss lens in HDR.

                       

                      This is with just two shots. No normal exposure -2EV and +2 EV

                       

                      https://flic.kr/p/rnp12q

                       

                       

                       

                      This is a before and after of the same photo. Shows how much dynamic range you get.

                       

                      Flickr - Photo Sharing!

                       

                       

                       

                      Now this third one, it has both the -2EV and +EV as well, however it also has the original exposure in it.

                       

                      Flickr - Photo Sharing!

                      • 8. Re: HDR best with just two shots (-2 and +2)?
                        Jim_Palik Level 1

                        I have seen very rare situations where only +2 and -2 are not sufficient, The interesting thing is that rarely do you even need to do three bracketed shots. If you know how to expose properly and you shoot in Raw, you can get everything you need from a single exposure. I teacher was Ansel Adams. Ansel was the finest craftsman in ever met in 55 years as a professional photographer. Ansel Adams and Fred Archer developed the Zone system in 1930. This system was based on one primary rule. Expose for the shadow and develop for the highlight. This is true today except in reverse. Expose for the highlight and post process for the shadow. If you understand the dynamic range of your sensor it is not difficult. For those that do not want to invest in a high end spot meter you can essentially get almost perfect exposures by setting the cameras meter to [  ] center weighted average and then pointing the center of the exposure at the brightest point. If shooting in raw this will give you the best single shot image to post process from.

                         

                        Jim

                        • 9. Re: HDR best with just two shots (-2 and +2)?
                          dj_paige Level 9

                          If you know how to expose properly and you shoot in Raw, you can get everything you need from a single exposure.

                          A very bold global statement that I disagree with completely.

                          • 10. Re: HDR best with just two shots (-2 and +2)?
                            nagol5178SN Level 1

                            That's crazy to shoot in jpeg and lose all that information, that compresses it down, you can't bring all the information back out, especially in an HDR. That doesn't make any sense.

                            • 11. Re: HDR best with just two shots (-2 and +2)?
                              ManiacJoe Adobe Community Professional

                              It would seem that you have misread something. No one here is suggesting you shoot JPG instead of raw files.

                              • 12. Re: HDR best with just two shots (-2 and +2)?
                                Steven L. Gotz Level 5

                                ... But he claims that "the engineers claim" that you will get better results with just two shots, -2 EV and +2 EV, then you will with more images. Any thoughts?

                                I just watched Scott's class on KelbyOne and he used three. 

                                 

                                It seems counter intuitive to me to leave out the "correct" exposure.

                                 

                                As for shooting one shot and getting all you need, to hear Serge Ramelli talk about his camera, he often claims that HDR is no longer necessary. Maybe not, but I would have to see more proof.

                                • 13. Re: HDR best with just two shots (-2 and +2)?
                                  JimHess Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                  I've done some very preliminary testing using the 2-shot method. So far I'm quite satisfied with the results. But then, I haven't been a big fan of HDR photography. It's just been interesting experimenting a little with it this weekend.

                                  • 14. Re: HDR best with just two shots (-2 and +2)?
                                    dj_paige Level 9

                                    nagol5178SN wrote:

                                     

                                    That's crazy to shoot in jpeg and lose all that information, that compresses it down, you can't bring all the information back out, especially in an HDR. That doesn't make any sense.

                                    No one was talking about shooting JPG.

                                    • 15. Re: HDR best with just two shots (-2 and +2)?
                                      99jon Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      I’ve just tested using Canon CR2 converted to DNG. I took 3 shots (standard +2 stops and -2 stops) and used the last two for HDR. I took the merged image into develop and used the new keyboard shortcut holding down shift and double-clicking the white and black slider pointers to set the optimum ends of the histogram. I applied some clarity and sharpening and the result was very pleasing.