How to take an HDR / Stack Exposures

camera on a tripod

So you’ve mastered manual settings and you understand how to adjust aperture, shutter speed and ISO. However, you’ve encountered a problem when trying to preserve really bright highlights and really dark shadows.

So, what do you do?

Hopefully your answer wasn’t give up, otherwise i won’t make my sweet ad revenue by you learning this useful photography tactic. Anyways, today ill show you how to stack multiple exposures so you can preserve those highlights and shadows. luckily, this is a lot easier than it looks, let’s begin.

First, you will need the following…

  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Photoshop or Light room

Next, you will want to find a composition with your camera on the tripod and set your aperture, ISO and shutter speed as close to proper exposure as you can.

Notice it’s overexposed around the window, that’s okay we will fix this by stacking multiple exposures.

Now, keep your camera on the tripod and raise your shutter speed so you underexpose your image but just enough to where you can see detail in the highlights.

Notice how you have more detail around the window by underexposing the rest of the image.

Lastly, you want to overexpose your image by slowing down your shutter speed just enough to where you can see more detail in the shadows.

Notice how you have more detail in the shadows by overexposing your image.

Time for the grand finale, we will be merging these three exposures to capture maximum detail in the bright highlights and dark shadows. We will be merging these in Lightroom but you can also merge them in Photoshop.

Import the three images into Lightroom and then hold CTRL and select each one.

After selecting the three images right click then go to photo merge and click HDR.

Make sure Auto Align is checked then select high on the deghost amount and merge your image!

It’s that easy, you’ve just stacked multiple exposures to create an image that is properly exposed for the shadows and highlights, congrats!

Here is the final product after some fine tuning…

Thank you, if you found this helpful at all be sure to like and contact me in anyway you would like! Next, we will dive into long exposure photography!

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  1. Pingback: Mastering Manual Settings – Russell Shaffer

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