Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Photo tip: getting more dynamic range in-camera

Ever encountered a high-contrast situation where your camera is unable to capture the entire dynamic range of the scene? Such as shooting landscape photos on a sunny day?

In this photography tip, I will teach you how to get the maximum dynamic range from a photo straight out of the dSLR. It's pretty easy actually, and just needs a bit of tweaking of your camera's image processing parameters.

In order to minimise the problem of blown highlights in high-contrast scenes, you should TURN DOWN the contrast parameter found on your camera. For Canon EOS users, this can be found under picture styles.

What this does is to reduce the contrast of your images, giving it better highlights and shadows. However, the picture will have less 'pop'. In terms of the histogram, reducing the contrast will push the shadow region toward the right (making it brighter) while the highlight region will be pulled left (making it darker), thus the overall histogram is being 'compressed'. The result is that what you capture on screen is closer to what your eyes sees, in contrasty situations.

While this tip may not fully solve extremely high-contrast environments, it will go some way to help you get better pictures straight out of camera without the need for HDR/blending multiple exposures in post-processing.

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