High dynamic range (HDR) digital photography is a technical and artistic leap forward from traditional photography. It has become so popular because it solves a lot of photographic exposure problems and, in the end, looks really cool. Images captured and processed with HDR techniques contain a much wider range of light than standard photos.
Normally, shadows and bright areas in a single photo are linked. For example, if you set your camera to lighten shadows in a landscape, the sky gets too bright. If you turn down the exposure so the sky looks good, details are lost in the darker areas of the photo. Although you can push and pull exposure in software, there is a practical limit to what looks good because you literally run out of data.
HDR increases the amount of data by using more than one source photo. You take the photos through a process called bracketing. Each photo in the bracketed set has a different brightness. Special software combines the photos and allows you to control how the end result looks. When it's all said and done, you have a lot of control over that look. You can choose to emphasize realism, details, contrast, artistry, drama, and more.
Whether you're coming to HDR because you love photography and want to expand your skill set, you're taking a photography class and have to complete a project on HDR, you're trying to impress your girlfriend or boyfriend, or you have a new camera and want to do something special with it, this book is for ...