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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    My Workflow Part 1

    As so many people have enquired and PM'd me regarding how I go about getting the images I post up I thought I would start a couple of chapters regarding the capturing of the exposures, processing the HDR, Tonemapping, my particular grunge style PP and some additional tips and tricks...........specifically light rays as has been asked.........

    Therefore lets start at the beginning...

    Capture Your Images

    I will start by adding, that what you decide to shoot is a very personal thing........shoot what you want, HDR may not work in some cases, in my case for what I shoot it does.........but not always

    With HDR you would do well to remember the above as there will always be the ones that hate it and consider it the devils work!!

    Dont fall into the trap that I did, and listen to people that say 1 exposure or 1 exposure that is then adjusted and split in PP or indeed 3 exposures at +-2EV is aint...depending on what your shooting. If your shooting what i shoot, derelict/abandoned buildings, or sunset/sunrises it is defiantely not enough.

    Ok grabbing those shots, I shoot with a Canon 1DMKIII so up to a 18EV spread burst is pretty straightforward, if your on a different Canon body then you will be limited to a 4-6EV you will have to manually bracket or get one of those fancy Promote controls. Get your self a decent tripod and head, set the camera in Aperture priority and choose a setting that is relevant to the scene.

    An abandoned building will normally be badly lit, with maybe one or two windows letting in sunlight and sometimes these are partly boarded.....I will normally expose for something between the really bright window and the darkest shadow in the room, set the lowest ISO you can get away with whilst still maintaining a sub 30sec exposure. Some people at this point recommend using mirror lock I have never bothered and always get pin sharp shots.........but if you feel it helps then lock the mirror up. Shoot.

    I always shoot a full 16bit Raw.

    I will fire off a 5EV bracket burst at +-1EV......look at the shots have you captured, have some of the images retained detail in the windows? no? then delete them and do a 7EV or 9EV or however many is needed burst until you have.........getting the detail in these images is the foundation for producing a great can do the best tonemapping and PP but you will never recover a blown window/sky or indeed recover shadow details.

    Dont rush this part it really is the most important!! Check your histogram, you know how to do this right?, if you dont then get out your user manual as it really is a very useful tool that nearly all DSLR's have, check it, do your exposures go from the left to the right on the histogram....great then you have covered the tonal range of the scene.

    HDR Processing

    I use Photomatix Pro 4 for my HDR processing, other programmes are available but this one works for me. So we have our exposures, lets say 5 Raw files for instance, have a look at them any that are way too over exposed or under I will ditch now. Ok happy with what we have?

    No I will deviate from the normal written instruction for Photomatix, I dont touch my Raw files, no tweaking in Raw Editor no file conversion into Tiff's, nothing!

    Grab the files and drop them straight into Photomatix, let Photomatix do its stuff........then get ready to Tonemap......I dont do Fusion never have and dont find it gives the same results as Tonemapping.

    If your expecting a secret recipe here then you will be dissapointed, I always start at the default slider settings.......I will tweak these to suit the scene and my eyes but it will vary from shot to shot.......

    What I will say is that my Strength slider very, very rarely goes above 60-70%, Saturation the same, Smoothing always set to Max, Black and White Points........dont really bother with as we will be doing more work in PS.

    Process and save as a Tiff.

    So, are we ready for some serious Photoshop work........??

    Well that will come in Part 2 :thumbsup:
    Canon 1DmkIII, 24-105L, 17-40L, 50mm f/1.8

    I choose to live my life to a different tune of music., one which is not censored or wrapped so much with a blanket of over -regulation, Health & Safety gone mad, fear and blind compliance to anything you are told to do...........
    Downfallen, RIP

  2. #2
    n8 is offline
    Senior Member n8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Rockford, Il

    Re: My Workflow Part 1

    I think it's really cool that you're sharing you're technique...although what I'm mostly noticing is that it's how to do hdr right rather than the bust thee exposures and you're done approach. You're one that I really tend to follow here and definitely inspire what I see as a "proper" hdr when I'm doing my own. Thanks again for sharing.
    mostly Nikon gear

    Feel free to edit my images for critique, just let me know what you did.

  3. #3
    Senior Member armando_m's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Guadalajara Mexico

    Re: My Workflow Part 1

    don't know how I missed this, great tips ! thanks for sharing them

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