HDR on the Cheap?
September 26, 2008 11:08 AM   Subscribe

How to produce some nice looking HDR shots for free?

I'm interested in compiling some HDR photos. I know how to bracket a shot with my camera. But, I haven't compiled a photo together in software before. Is there good free software out there to do this? I have an old version of Photoshop (7 I think?) if there is a way to do it in that. Or I could grab GIMP if you can recommend a good plugin for it. Other software ideas, tips? What's your HDR process? This is just for personal photos, not professional work so it doesn't need to be the best ever, just looking to play around a bit.
posted by Craig to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Is this tutorial any use to you?
posted by flabdablet at 11:17 AM on September 26, 2008

Try HDRSoft, I find HDRs look better than ones created with Photoshop
posted by dance at 11:30 AM on September 26, 2008

Technique-wise, if you're using a dSLR, shoot in RAW mode for HDRs. The extra dynamic range available in a full 12- or 14-bit RAW file really cuts down on the number of shots you need to take. With JPEGs, you'll need 4 or 5 shots to get the full range of a scene, while with RAW you can almost always get away with 3. Coupled a fast burst mode, and you don't really even need to use a tripod usually.
posted by paanta at 11:49 AM on September 26, 2008

DynamicPhotoHDR is a great program. The free version puts a watermark at the bottom of the image, but the functionality is not restricted. They also offer a Photoshop plugin that can make a faux-HDR from a single exposure.
posted by jluce50 at 11:50 AM on September 26, 2008

Why can't you just combine the images the good old fashioned way in PS to get the dynamic range you want? You get more control that way anyways. A lot of these HDR-specific software solutions churn out really awful results.
posted by bradbane at 11:51 AM on September 26, 2008

hugin can stitch and combine to HDR in one go. Haven't tried it for HDR, but it's been my go-to program for panoramas for some time.
posted by scruss at 11:55 AM on September 26, 2008

webhdr is pretty simple and free.
posted by tfinniga at 12:25 PM on September 26, 2008

Here is a link to ReDynamix, which is a plugin compatible with your version of photoshop for $16.
posted by smalls at 2:20 PM on September 26, 2008

^^^ you know, I just realized you are probably looking to work with more than one image and my link is not for this.
posted by smalls at 2:24 PM on September 26, 2008

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