Are you planning on venturing into landscape photography? If you are new to this kind of photography, then you must learn about the common challenges photographers face in this genre. Understanding these challenges in advance will allow you to prepare and avoid possible problems in the field.
One of the most common challenges that landscape photographers encounter is capturing the right tonal range of a scene. There are instances when the camera cannot capture all the details of a scene, as when the shadows or the highlights are clipped. This inevitably causes disappointment because the photo lacks tonal detail.
What is the best solution for this?
In landscape photography, High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography is a common technique used by photographers. HDR imaging is done by taking multiple shots of a single scene with different levels of exposure. These images are then combined to form one photo that contains the tonal values of every shot taken at different exposure levels.
HDR imaging is a great option whenever it is difficult capturing a scene’s full tonal range in one photograph. By taking multiple shots with different exposure levels, you are assured of getting all the tonal values in the photo’s details. Then, using special software in post-production processing you can create a final image that contains more details than what you could get from a normal image.
The technique that is used in HDR imaging is called bracketing. You have probably heard this term already, but many photographers disregard this because they consider it impractical and even difficult. Nevertheless, this method is what you need if you want to capture the perfect tonal range in your shots.
Bracketing will let you capture an image at different exposure settings: the recommended meter, underexposed, and overexposed settings. If the composition you like has a tonal range that is beyond what can be captured in a single image, you can take a series of photos, using the varied exposure settings. Then, it can later be combined into one single HDR photo. The image will combine all the details from the series of photos, including the brightest highlights and the darkest shadows.
Whenever you are taking a series of shots that will be assembled to one HDR image, you are actually taking what is called a set of bracketed exposures. Aside from capturing bracketed exposures using a manual mode, you can make your work easier by using the automatic exposure bracketing (AEB) feature of your camera.
Look for the ‘AEB’ setting on your camera. Changing to this setting will allow you to alter the exposure range into a half, third, or full stop. Depending on your shooting needs, you have the option to increase or decrease your shutter speed or change your aperture.
Tips on Using Bracketing in HDR Sequencing
In order to use bracketing, more specifically, automatic exposure bracketing in landscape photography, you have to understand the basic process of this feature. Here are some tips that can help you do it successfully:
- Capture photos representing different exposures. Make sure to include both full highlight and shadow details. In addition, it is recommended that you include images that represent the exposures within the range of the said extremes.
- Adjust the shutter speed. In HDR sequencing, you must take a series of photos that follows an interval of two stops exposure value. Therefore, every time you have to move to the next frame, you need to change the shutter speed to two stops brighter. For instance, if your shutter speed is at 1/500th of a second for the first photo, it will be set to 1/125th of a second for the next.
- Keep the ISO setting and aperture fixed. As you change the shutter speed from frame to frame, it is generally recommended that you keep your lens aperture and ISO constant. Begin by taking a shot that keeps the full highlight detail, without clipping the histogram’s right side.
- Continue the process until you have captured full shadow detail. When you reach exposure with the shutter speed 1/30th of a second, do not stop. Keep going until you have captured a photo that features full detail of the darkest shadow in the scene. Review the image on the camera to make sure there is no clipping on the histogram’s left side.
- Use a camera trigger. Employing AEB requires configuring the bracket settings first. Then, to make sure all the photos in your bracketed sequence will be taken at the quickest speed, it is best that you use a camera trigger for a well-timed shutter release.
The most-recommended camera trigger would be a remote or wireless one, like MIOPS Smart+ camera trigger. This advanced device functions as a camera remote that will let you configure the settings of your camera from the comfort of your mobile phone.
MIOPS Smart is a high-speed camera trigger in a single unit which provides advanced triggering modes like Lightning, Sound, Laser, Timelapse, and HDR.
Bracketing for Your Convenience
Using AEB for your landscape photography projects is a wise decision. Bracketing is easier than people think, especially when using a smart camera trigger.
Incorporating HDR imaging into landscape photography can dramatically improve your results because you are assured of capturing the scene’s entire tonal range. Even if the process may take a little more time than capturing a normal image, you’ll undoubtedly be rewarded by the final outcome.
Related Article: 6 Tips for Better Landscape Photography