Friday, 21 August 2009

Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Digital Photography Book Review

Over the weekend I sat down with the Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Digital Photography- one of my many unread photography books that have been sat on my desk for a while. This book was recommended to me by a Friend and thought that it was probably time that I checked it out for myself. I’m glad that I did.

So What is High Dynamic Range Photography (HDR) ?

According to Ferrell McCollough the author of this book, HDR is the process of taking several photographs of a scene at various exposures, then merging them into one file. So the entire photograph can look crisp and detailed, from highlights to midtones to shadows - and photographers needn't sacrifice any part of their image.

The Book Review

10 Out Of 10

The Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Digital Photography is the easiest way to to master this exiting relatively new technology with this thorough easy to follow and visually stunning guide book. This book covers everything you need to know to produce great HDR photographs, from how to take great source images to how to merge and tone map your photos.

Sections in the book cover

1. HDR Photography: An Overview (chapter explaining technical details of how HDR works)

2. Equipment, Controls, and Technique (raw vs jpeg, exposure compensation and using a Tripod and more)

3. Merging and Tone Mapping (conversion options, tone compressor vs details enhancer etc)

4. HDR Software and Post Processing (All the major software packages are examined and their virtues compared, The Creative HDR Look and lots more)

5. Capturing Great Source Images (Judging Contrast, Number of Images and Bracketing Amount, Histogram analysis, Ghosting + more)

6. Flash Merging, Architecture, and Panoramas (a shorter chapter on Flash Merging, Architectural HDR Photography and Panoramic HDR Photography)

7. Single Image HDR Photography (shortest chapter on Single Image Tone Mapping and Graduated ND Filters vs HDR)

8. Advanced Image Analysis (I think this last chapter should really be named extras or others as this is not really that much about analyzing images). The chapter includes Black and White HDR Photography, Night and Low Light HDR Photography, Macro and Flowers.

When I first read about this book I wondered how a HDR photography would take 174 pages to cover. But I soon realised that this book covers everything about HDR and that 174 pages for everything about HDR isnt much. I particularly enjoyed the page on Extreme Tone Mapping in the last chapter as this really opened my mind on how creative HDR can be.

Top Things I learnt From This Book

  • The technical details of exactly how HDR works
  • That you can have shadow in your photos and have an HDR image
  • That you can have black and white HDR images
  • That HDR can help reduce noise in photographs.

My Rating 10 Out Of 10

I found this book an enjoyable read and I think it fully desrves 10 stars. I now feel confident in producing good HDR images. Regulary now I take several photos of some scenes to see what that they would look like combined in a HDR image. The book feels nice to the hands and the printing quality is excellent. This book is an ideal starter book for anyone interested in HDR images, experienced photographer or not, it will guide you through the world of HDR. This is a book that will remain on my book shelf as a useful reference book for years to come as I continue my journey through the world of HDR.

And if nothing else, this book offers some fantastic inspiring HDR images to motivate you that really will motivate you. I think it is even worth buying the book just to see the excellent HDR images.

Check out the Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Digital Photography at Amazon where it is 35% off. Furthermore if you would like to see the potential of HDR photography check out my post 25 Stunning HDR Photos

Have you read any great digital photography books? Give your recommendations with your reasons why in comments box. I'm Looking forward to discovering some great digital photography books.


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