How to Take Amazing HDR Photos Quickly

HDR photography is a great way to take images that are well-exposed and detailed. An HDR photo is a combination of multiple images taken at different exposures. Combining different exposures means that the final shot has everything properly exposed, from the highlights to the shadows.

If you would like to take some great HDR photos yourself, here are some tips you can follow:

  1. Take Multiple Photos

As mentioned before, you have to take more photos than one to combine into an HDR image. The more exposures you have of your scene, the more control you will have over what your final image looks like.

  1. Keep The Camera Steady

Consider using a tripod to make sure that all photos you take align perfectly with one another when you are merging them. Otherwise, you can run into issues while trying to combine your photos.

  1. Use a Dedicated HDR Editor

While you can create HDR photos in programs like Photoshop, it is recommended that you use a dedicated HDR editor. This will allow you to tweak your images much more easily and quickly. An editor that focuses solely on HDR photography will also have a much more streamlined interface so you’ll be able to work much quicker. Aurora HDR is one of the best such editors you can use, combining professional-grade features with an easy to use interface. You can visit www.aurorahdr.com to download a trial as well as read about its features in more detail.

 

Follow these tips and you’ll see how easy it actually is to take some very good HDR shots. The process highly depends on what editor you use, so be sure to try a few before settling on one.

 

How You Can Add Some Drama to Your Photos

It’s not easy to find that perfectly aesthetic shot while roaming around with your camera. Sometimes, a photographer has to create the shot in a way that makes something mundane look more interesting. Here are a few ways that you can add drama to your photos with ease:

  1. Slow That Shutter

You don’t always have to look for the sharpest photo. Sometimes, it helps to slow down your camera’s shutter speed and get some motion blur in your shot. A car driving by, or a person walking briskly can be turned into very interesting elements in a photo.

 

 

  1. Create Silhouettes

Other than looking really cool if done right, creating silhouettes can also save you from going home empty handed if your subject is backlit by the sun and you don’t have external lighting to balance the foreground.

  1. Change Your Perspective

You’d be surprised to find out how you can turn a typical, boring situation into something dynamic and interesting if you change your perspective. Taking a picture from up top or down below really makes things look much more interesting than they would otherwise seem.

  1. Get That Bokeh Going

Bokeh, or background defocusing, can really help make your subject pop in a busy environment. Not only that, it creates a lot of drama in photos if used correctly. Using a shallow depth of field to turn background lights into soft balls of lights, or make the cityscape melt away into something like a painting with your subject in sharp focus is one of the easiest ways to take aesthetically pleasing shots.

How You Can Take Better Photos with your Smartphone

Smartphone cameras are improving every day. They are pushing the envelope when it comes to what can be done with a tiny camera you have with you all day. From dual lenses to full manual controls, smartphone cameras offer many features that people could ask for.

But you don’t have to have a high end phone with a high end camera module to take great smartphone photos. Let’s take a look at some of my top tips to help you make the most of your smartphone camera.

Composition Matters

While the high megapixel number of your phone camera might help you crop and reframe your shots later, you shouldn’t be relying on this all the time. Learn how to compose your photos while taking them. The composition of your photos matters a lot as to how good they look. It’s not always the tack sharp focus and perfect exposure that makes an image look good; the composition plays a big role as well.

Use Manual Controls

Many phone cameras give the users access to manual controls these days. You can manually tweak just about everything from shutter speed to focus. So take some time to understand these controls and try to manually control them as much as possible for most creative control over your shots.

Be Observant and Change your Perspective

Since you probably have your smartphone with you all day, be on the lookout for interesting things you can photograph. Once you find such things, try to look at them from a different perspective. Go close to them, get your phone underneath them, or take a wide angle shot. Experiment with how the subject can be perceived. You won’t believe what an amazing difference this makes to your photos.

 

How You Can Paint with Light

A highly interesting way to take photos at night is by light painting. This is a technique where you use external light sources to ‘paint’ over your subjects in really dark situations. Even on a pitch black night, something can be brought to life by throwing some external light on it.

Now you must be thinking what’s so cool about putting light on an object and then taking its photo, but that’s not all. Light painting is done by using a very long exposure setting on your camera, allowing you to move your light around the subject to enhance certain parts of it.

How to Start Painting

Once you have determined your subject, the first thing to do is get your camera ready. You’ll need a tripod for this purpose and ideally a remote shutter release as well. After this, you should work out how the ambient light, if any, can be used to light up your scene. For outdoor shots, you can use the light from a street light or just the moon, and for indoor shots you can place a light somewhere near your frame to add some fill light.

Set your camera’s exposure setting to Bulb. This will allow you to keep the shutter open as long as you want, until you press the camera’s shutter button again. Once the shutter is open, start lighting your subject and move the light around slowly. You can focus on certain parts of the photo more than others by this method. The more your shine you shine the light on a portion of your subject, the better exposed it will come out to be.

Getting Creative

There are many cool ways to use light painting in your photos. You can either use the technique itself to create complete photos or use it to enhance your subjects. For example, you can use burning steel wool and rotate it all around to create very interesting photos. You can also use glow sticks, flashlights, and other kinds of lights for enhancing your photos or to paint over your subjects in an interesting way. Have a look at the following examples for some inspiration:

 

There is really a lot you can do with light painting. This type of photography cannot really be taught; you have to go out and experiment for yourself night after night until you figure out how you want to do and which type of light painting you prefer.

How I Take Architectural Photos

So I love architecture, and I love photography, so it’s no secret that I love to take photos of architecture. Capturing the presence, the monumentality, and the intricacy of architecture is something that I just cannot see myself not doing.

As a result of this deep love for architectural photography, I’ve learned a few things over the years that I would now like to share with everyone else who might be interested in getting started with this genre.

  • Light is both Friend and Foe

Light, when shooting architecture, can either make your day easy as pie or as hard as you can possibly imagine. The perfect light will create subtle shadows over your subject, giving you multiple possible angles to take photos from to highlight the real beauty of the building. On a bad day, however, your camera will not know where to focus and what to expose for. For these kind of days, I take multiple bracketed shots and merge them into an HDR to get the kind of exposure I want in post. If you’d like to do this, head on to www.aurorahdr.com to find out more.

  • The Right Lens is Crucial

If you want to capture the complete presence of a building, you need a good wide angle lens to do so. If you do not have a wide angle lens, then you should have a sharp telephoto or prime that can help you take photos of some crucial details of the building.

  • The Inside Matters

It’s not just the outside of a building that should be photographed, the inside matters equally if not more at times. However, it becomes a little trickier in some cases to photograph interiors, especially if you’re covering an older building. Use as much natural light as possible, but there are chances that you will need to invest in good lighting gear to get the shot.

 

  • Add Some Oomph

And finally, I’ve learnt that adding some extra wow factor can really turn an architectural photo into a piece of art. Using reflective surfaces, slowing down the clouds in the sky, capturing photos in HDR, changing your perspective, or making it all monochromatic are some great ways to add that extra layer of depth to your architectural photos.

 

So go out and start taking photos of your favorite buildings, armed with these essential tips. The more you shoot, the more you’ll learn and the more your own understanding of photography will improve.

Top listed photography tips and tricks

Without wasting any words, let’s just get into top listed photography tips and tricks from beginners to professionals out there –

  • Know Your Camera

Before you start learning about photography, you should first get accustomed to your camera, so that you can find the relevant camera settings when we go over them further down in the article. If your primary camera is a DSLR, it does not hurt to know what a DSLR is and how it works. If you shoot with a mirrorless camera, we have a similar article that describes what a mirrorless camera is and how it compares to a DSLR. And if you want to take it up a level, we have a detailed DSLR vs Mirrorless article that lists every advantage and disadvantage of the two. If you shoot with a point-and-shoot camera, check out our DSLR vs Point-and-Shoot article that compares the two.

  • Learn Photography Basics

Once you have a camera kit to shoot with and you know how to turn it on to take a picture, it is a good time to learn and understand the photography basics. First, start out by reading about Aperture (also see Lens Aperture Chart for Beginners), Shutter Speed and Camera ISO. Then put the three together in Understanding ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture for Beginners article and seal it with the Exposure Triangle for Beginners and Choosing a Creative Exposure articles.

  • Learn Nomenclature

Learn various abbreviations of your camera, learn it at basic level then have a look around if you can do the same with other camera’s without having to look at the camera manual for each and every new cam that you come across. Also, learn about the one-click zoo,  fixing “Err” error, focal length comparison and total shutter actuation.