Photographing images for HDR tone mapping

After you try this Photoshop tutorial with our images, you may want to use your own. Here’s how you can photograph your images so that they can be tone mapped using this tutorial.

  1. You will need to shoot three exposures in the same position. To ensure that your camera does not move, put it on a tripod or a ledge so that it does not move while you shoot the three exposures. You can get away without using a tripod if your camera can shoot at 6fps or faster, you are using wide angle or image stabilized lens, and if the scene is bright enough to shoot at 1/250th of a second or faster. Simply enable high speed shooting mode on your camera. Keep your hands steady!
  2. Set your camera to aperture priority mode (Av). Using aperture priority mode is the safest way of creating a set of images for tone mapping. Avoid using shutter priority mode (Tv) as you can get halos and other artifacts in your image from the varying depth of field in your photo.
  3. Enable auto exposure bracketing (also known as AEB). If you are using a camera without this feature (ex. point and shoot cameras), skip this step. This feature is in almost every new DSLR camera and will automatically set the parameters to create three images of different exposures. This feature is usually found in your menu under AEB or Auto Exposure Bracketing. Refer to your camera manual if you do not know how to use this feature. For your first photos, set the bracketing to –2, 0, and +2. Some newer cameras let you go above two stops. You may try different bracketing settings depending on the dynamic range of your photo. Most DSLR have enough dynamic range that shooting at one stop increments is unnecessary.
  4. Set your cameras focus then switch to manual focus so that your camera does not refocus after taking each picture. Take three pictures and AEB will automatically create three different exposures for you.