59 — HDR — High dynamic range photography — Interview with Joseph Cartright

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #59 talks about HDR (High dynamic range) pho­tog­ra­phy in an inter­view with fash­ion pho­tog­ra­pher and HDR instruc­tor Joseph Car­tright. In this pod­cast we dis­cuss how to cre­ate an HDR pho­to­graph and be warned, this is an inter­me­di­ate level pod­cast. That said, Joseph reviews many of the terms that con­fuse dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phers these days, so part of the pod­cast (espe­cially the begin­ning) reviews con­cepts rel­e­vant to all dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy. In a nut­shell an HDR image is made of 2 or more shots where the same scene is pho­tographed with brack­eted expo­sures and then put together with soft­ware in order to extend the dynamic range (get addi­tional infor­ma­tion in the high­lights, mid­tones and shad­ows) of the scene.

Here’s a few terms as explained by Joseph that are good to absorb right away;
– Lat­i­tude — Refers to how much you can be ‘off’ of the cor­rect expo­sure and still have a usable image.
– Dynamic range — Refers to the usable range of data you can cap­ture between the high­lights and the shad­ows before you lose data. (If you over­ex­pose too much there is no data in the whites or high­lights and if you under­ex­pose too much there is no data in the blacks or shadows).

HDR photograph

HDR Image by Joseph Car­tright — Click to enlarge

HDR photograph

HDR Image by Trey Rat­cliff — Click to enlarge — Orig­i­nal image http://stuckincustoms.com/2008/12/14/my-five-favorites-from-vancouver/

Links men­tioned in this pod­cast and HDR ref­er­ences — Joseph Car­tright Pho­tog­ra­phy


Pho­tomatix — http://www.hdrsoft.com/
FDR tools — http://fdrtools.com/front_e.php
Soft­ware overview — http://wiki.panotools.org/HDR_Software_overview

Ref­er­ence Sites:
HDR tuto­r­ial by Trey Ratcliff

Assign­ments on the bul­letin board:
Decem­ber photo assign­ment — The Hol­i­days
Decem­ber assign­ment — Pho­tograph­ing words — Winter

Thanks as always to‚ Steven K,‚ Susan, EJC, Dan, JK and aophoto who posted a blog com­ment about our last pod­cast. Thanks also to Mark3351, Alex Ross rana, djKianoosh, Rikki, eroder, The_Camera_Poser and ben­ja­mind­i­caprio for join­ing our bul­letin board and post­ing a few times. We LOVE com­ments and sug­ges­tions so please send more.

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You can down­load this pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast directly by click­ing the pre­ced­ing link or lis­ten to it almost imme­di­ately with the embed­ded player below.


  1. very nice pic!

  2. Gary H says:

    Great pod­cast, I learned a lot, mainly that I’m not ready to try HDR quite yet. Maybe when I have more time. Even though I won’t be try­ing it, the tech­ni­cal dis­cus­sion of dynamic range helped me a lot. I’m going to have to go back and lis­ten to that again.

  3. Frank says:

    Excel­lent pod­cast. Your guest, Joseph Cartwright pro­vided great insight into the world of HDR.

  4. Yisehaq says:

    Hi Marko
    That is an excel­lent pod­cast. I have been faci­nated by HDR for long time but didn’t know about the tone map­ping. thanks so much for clar­ri­fy­ing that for me.

  5. landon9720 says:

    Great pod­cast. Thank you and please keep up the good work. Your pod­cast stands out among the crowd.

  6. Hi Marko,

    Great pod­cast! I wanted to men­tion to oth­ers that in some sit­u­a­tions you may not have a tri­pod to take your mul­ti­ple expo­sures. But I never let this stop me. Hand-held HDR does work with a lit­tle help from pho­to­shop. Pho­to­shop has a cool fea­ture called Auto-Align Lay­ers that you can use to align your expo­sures before pro­cess­ing through Pho­tomatix. Bring you expo­sures into Pho­to­shop as sep­a­rate lay­ers and run Auto-Align Lay­ers. Pho­to­shop does a great job. Then save the indi­vid­ual lay­ers as sep­a­rate files before pro­cess­ing in Pho­tomatix. You can’t replace the sharp­e­ness you get from using a tri­pod, but you won’t miss the shot either.

    Also Pho­tomatix has a facil­ity to do what’s called pseudo-HDR where it will process a sin­gle RAW file and allow you to run the tone-mapping func­tion on your image. This is a great way to exper­i­ment with the tone-mapping fea­tures in Photomatix.

    Have fun!


  7. Susan says:

    Won­der­ful pod­cast!!! I soooooo want to learn how to do this tech­nique! Thanks so much for doing the pod­cast to both Marko and your guest, Joseph Cartright!

  8. Steven k says:

    Wow again very infor­ma­tive and I finally fig­ured out what tone map­ping is lol I cant wait for more!

    and dont worry about men­tion­ing me in the next one lol i fill like i am being too adver­tased or some­thing (lack­ing a word there )

    but I Do hope to com­ment on all your future pod­cast :)

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