Deal 10: A hot topic, at a hot price!
Few kinds of photography have a more dynamic power than the area of Portraiture.
Portraiture is the medium through which we photographers endeavor to tell the stories of our friends, our family, and our clients. Through this art, we have the ability to capture a likeness of someone that will last for generations to come.
So, is your portraiture worthy of this calling?
Developing the art of portraiture requires a great deal of time and effort. Developing relationship to perceive the true personality of our subject. Creating the perfect likeness. Achieving the most dynamic final product for print.
Daunting? Perhaps. But technology is on our side in ways like never before:
Portraitists, meet the High Dynamic Range Portrait.
HDR portraits may seem more work than worth the effort. This is further than the truth. There are many programs that have now harnessed the simplicity of HDR and enable portraitists to create works of art that produce an artistry from the most simple locations, lighting, and subject matter.
Creating HDR portraits is more simplistic than you may think.
Take these few tips for a portrait of High Dynamic impact.
The point and purpose of HDR is to capture depth and detail. While you are practicing, set up shots that will enable you to focus entirely on your subject. If you want to create a genuine likeness that harnesses the impact of HDR, keep it simple, and keep it real.
As you will be stacking your image series, you don’t want any change to the aperture and depth of field. Make the shot easy on yourself by allowing the camera to determine your shutter speed. [One additional note: be aware of your shutter speed so that you will not end up with blurry images – ruining the clarity of your HDR portrait].
The greatest challenge with HDR portraits is getting your subject to stand as still as they can – and you taking the shot with equal speed. If you are not bracketing your camera, you will want to take 3-5 images. Three exposures will keep blur low, once again, allowing you to achieve clarity for your portraits.
HDR is most powerful because it allows you to preserve details in both the shadows and the highlights. Therefore, it’s extremely important to watch anything that may be distracting in your portrait. Wrinkles, oily skin, pores, etc. Minimize elements that you do not want to have featured, or else they will be quite enhanced by the HDR technique.
You can obtain a variety of HDR programs that will stack the images together into one image [Photomatix for example]. You don’t necessarily need anything fancy or expensive [see this post for the editing process]. Once your images are stacked, you can import and edit your image into another program for editing, like Photoshop, Lightroom, or Aperture. Once again, as you have preserved detail in the highlights and shadows, edit with contrast in mind.
Remember, HDR portraiture can make your portraits come alive with a real-to-life quality you never dreamt possible. And as you see, it can be a fairly simple process.
March 22, 2013 10:40 am
I'm always shocked (or maybe I shouldn't be any more sadly) when people make very scathing comments against someone's article. If you're not interested in the subject - don't read it! If you don't like what's said or the way it's being said, move on to something else. By all means be critical if it's constructive but remember that someone made the effort to submit something so at least try and be tactful. I am pretty sure that people would not speak so harshly if they were face to face with the writer - so don't hide behind the safety of an online post to be so brutal.
At least this article brings up HDR in portraiture as a topic and like all techniques it will be something you can choose to use or not. I am sure for some situations it could be a very useful option. But the ones who decry even the suggestion that HDR is ijust bad or somehow betraying the art of photography - you need to open your minds a bit - or maybe just keep your opinions to yourself.
July 17, 2010 07:01 am
I suppose HDR portraiture might be useful in a situation where you can't (or don't know how to) control the lighting to produce an image capable of being printed. Or if you just want to produce something totally different from what photographers have been producing for the last 160 years or so. People (some) might even like how it looks. Time will tell.
April 24, 2010 02:11 am
with HDR i found a really cool atical in the march issue of Digital SLR photography by david hill, worth the read
April 22, 2010 04:19 pm
This topic was on my mind just the other day so I'm glad that I did not miss your great article. I've been doing a lot of HDR work lately and had been thinking of adding it to my Flickr stream at www.flickr.com/photos/kylebailey/sets and writing about the process on my www.rookiephoto.com blog but was unsure about how the effects would turn out.
Your article gave me hope that the results will be well worth the effort. Do you have great examples that you can direct me to for inspiration. Perhaps other readers may have some examples to post.
My HDR stuff is mostly buildings and cars and stuff that does not move. I've still not gathered the skills to shoot people with confidence since I'm only 7 weeks into my journey to go from Rookie to Pro.
Thanks again for the article. Looking forward to reading more of your posts!
April 22, 2010 02:14 pm
Wow. I can't believe the rudeness/nastiness of the majority of commenters here. I really would like to see you haters step up to the plate and post an article on DPS. But of course that won't happen because most of you are gutless with your pseudonyms (put your real name if you really believe in your opinion) and hiding behind your keyboard. If you act like this in real life then you really do have a problem.
April 22, 2010 12:27 pm
I don't really understand why this is useful.. up the clarity or sharpness, or add some grain in PhotoShop or Lightroom is really all you need if you want this "look".
April 22, 2010 03:16 am
I like her wedding photography. I'm not nuts about the portrait above. I don't find it flattering at all.
I have never tried HDR on portraits because I don't understand why you would. That's not to say I'm right. Maybe if you shot somebody outside at noon with harsh light and ended up with blown areas or dark shadows on their face, it might help?
Okay, I looked at angad's examples and I have to say I like them. He hasn't overdone it which I think is the mistake most people make with HDR that gives such negative connotations. His look very nice.
April 22, 2010 01:17 am
Some of the comments here are quite cowardly and standoffish. I'm sure Christina would be the first to tell you she welcomes constructive criticism. No need to be so crass. I'm sure we all have images in our collection that others are not impressed with. We shoot and learn.
To the people who, while not impressed by the article, still have the maturity to post their opinions with respect to the author, good on you. Thanks for opening the discussion to some reasons why HDR may not be great for portraits (skin tone issues). Although, I've seen some very tasteful ones in my opinion.
For those who comment just to tell everyone you're deleting your new feed. Silly. Just delete it and good riddance. I have found some great information here. Some articles are more help than others, but I don't recall paying for any of it! Put it all in context people.
Christina, thank you for all your posts and tips through the time I've been reading here. Based on the feedback, I'm sure your next post will be better. To many more informative articles to come!
April 22, 2010 01:10 am
This is a rather useless article for the readers of DPS. This is merely to spice the site up for some SEO marketing it seems....trying to get a bigger piece of the pie.
April 22, 2010 12:17 am
nail meet coffin.
and DPS goes off my news reader for good.
April 21, 2010 11:58 pm
I definitely undersand politeness and decorum, and I respect both. However, at the same time, I also believe in honesty, and showering an author/article with clearly undeserved praise is counterproductive.
-- The example shown, if you look at the EXIF data, isn't an HDR shot.
-- HDR and portraiture do not mix. The color/saturations do not play well with skin tones.
-- After perusing the author's website galleries, I can honestly say that I am stunned speechless that she's able
to command anywhere near the prices she charges.
Perhaps I should've just refrained from commenting at all, in the spirit of our moms telling us, "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all."
April 21, 2010 10:29 pm
While some of you might not like the article, and I personally really dislike HDR in pretty much all forms, let's not get personal...
April 21, 2010 08:40 pm
Thanks for this one mate..I tried it on a few portraits I shot while ago. I converted it from a single raw file..these are the results..
April 21, 2010 02:25 pm
I always failed to capture and process portrait or people HDR..it will resulting bad..I will try to follow your steps..
http://momoc.sumasu.com - Daily HDR Photo
April 21, 2010 11:31 am
Every time an article like this comes along - I think about taking dpschool off my feed.
April 21, 2010 10:27 am
I'm actually really really pissed off.
At all these people who are tearing into the author.
So maybe you don't like HDR, let alone HDR portraits. Keep it to yourself. I enjoy this blog because of the positive vibe it [generally] puts out. These comments have been a huge disappointment.
If you don't agree with what was written, fine, say it politely.
DON'T WRITE SOMETHING YOU WOULD NOT SAY IN PERSON FACE TO FACE.
And if you would say it face to face, the WAY you said it,,,you've got some serious issues. There are doctors for that.
April 21, 2010 09:20 am
@Jen at Cabin Fever
I copied this from http://www.mediachance.com/hdri/bracketlist.html :
All Canon SLR have Autobracketing in range -2 to 2 EV. To set it press Menu then select AEB and set the green EV marks with left/right arrows or wheel so it shows 3 green marks -2, 0 and +2. To cancel AEB move the marks in oposite direction until they become a single green mark at 0.
To fire 3 shots quickly by holding the shutter you can set the drive to multiple image.
Canon SLR's are excellent choice for HDRI images thanks to its very low noise. You can obtain a very good results using tany of these SLR's.
April 21, 2010 09:14 am
@Jen at Cabin Fever
I saw on your blog, that you have Canon Rebel XT camera..if that is true, you have bracketing..you have to set AEB and then you have to put the camera in to multi shot (motor drive) instead of single shot, and press the shutter should take exactly three shots in a row..
i am sure you can find that in manual..
April 21, 2010 08:35 am
HDR Portraiture in one easy step: don't.
April 21, 2010 07:27 am
Much of my work is HDR photography, but I have yet to do an HDR portriat. What makes HDR difficult for me is that I don't have a bracketing on my camera (or I do, but don't know how to use it) so I'd have to have my subject sit still uncomfortably and unnaturally. I'd still like to try this, though. HDR photography is fantasitc.
April 21, 2010 06:57 am
No more articles from Christina, please
April 21, 2010 05:35 am
HDR Portraiture is an interesting subject, but the detail captured in the article here does not really even begin to describe why, and how.
First off the one thing to keep in mind with any HDR is that it will need to be Tone Mapped in order for the image to be converted to TIFF or JPG.
During the tone mapping process, additional tint and saturation is typically infused. This can be great for shooting inanimate objects, but is terrible for shooting people. The end result being skin tones that are not right and definetly not flattering.
The process that I use is one of layering the original medium exposure image over the HDR image to create a composite image.
I wrote a bit about the process here on Flickr and posted some results.
But in reality most of the effects that would be produced by this can be recreated (better in most cases) with the correct lighting setup and a little post work in Lightroom and Photoshop.
April 21, 2010 04:46 am
Lol, there is sure alot of haters here today :D
April 21, 2010 04:23 am
I understand people's need for new things, but, I really wish HDR would just go away. It takes away from our art and does nothing more than make photos look simply fake.
There are some comments above which are a tad harsh as well people. Christina put herself out there to write and share this article with us in the spirit of education. If you're not a fan of the article how about you write one?
April 21, 2010 03:46 am
Im surrounded by way too many bad hdr photos already. I just wish hdr wouldnt come to portraiture too. Which is one of my favorite subjects at the moment.
I get the point and all the advantages, but I thinks its kinda hard to achive a good looking result. I just dont get the phenomenon when people think a regular scene would look good in hdr. Im so sick 'n' tired of checking these top 50 hdr galleries linked to twitter with photos of someones car parked infront of their house..
I think Ive just seen one good hdr portrait in my life and its this one: http://carlzon.deviantart.com/art/New-but-not-new-HDR-64150859 which isnt that special either
April 21, 2010 03:43 am
More detailed pictures!!
April 21, 2010 03:38 am
Well maybe the post is a little off but give her a break. And Alex who gives you the right to say the stuff you said. This is a place where I go to stay away from tiny bopper drama so do me a favor keep the negative stuff to a minimum. This isn't facebook kids!!
Alex your a Jerk
April 21, 2010 03:01 am
You're right, the article doesn't really say much at all. I can see a use for hdr for landscape or backgrounds, but for a close cropped portrait, what details can you really bring out that you can't with a few adjustment layers in photoshop?
For the beginner, they're no information about how to set up hdr- how many stops? No tripod? No remote? How to even process hdr images (Has she ever looked at Photomatix? That program is definitely not for the beginner).
And yes, like Sillyxone said, if you can control the light, why on earth would you even need hdr?:
April 21, 2010 02:51 am
You show one example of a black and white photograph and call that an HDR portrait. There is no "keeping it simplistic" when making an HDR portrait. Having your subject sit still long enough to compose, arrange them in a comfortable position in order to make bracketed exposures, and have the patience to get the shot is not simple.
The purpose of HDR is not to capture depth and detail. The point of HDR is to photograph the range of highlights, shadows, and mid tones all in one photograph. Re-producing what the human eye sees. Clearly you have not been working with HDR long enough to understand the point of HDR. And HDR is not new technology, only the software used to render the images and over saturate them by tone-mapping is new. The concept has been around a lot longer.
This article is useless. It brings people aware of the idea of HDR portraits. It does not show examples or -how-to's on the software. This doesnt clearly explain what HDR is. HDR does not capture the likeness for generations to come. HDR captures the scene and subject as we see it. In a higher range of tones. Any portrait can be construed as an image that will last for generations to come.
April 21, 2010 02:12 am
the sample looks more like it's over sharpen and highpass filter applied. and with help of CS3 and higher + photomatix, you can possibly get HDR with one image.
April 21, 2010 01:33 am
this girl doesnt know anything and her photography sucks
April 21, 2010 01:12 am
I can see someone wanting to do this for some unique artistic reasons. However, I think this is much more often accomplished by shooting the background and then adding the subject in later. Much easier than trying to keep the subject still while you shoot a bracket of images.
Here is an example:http://www.lightshootedit.com/2010/03/chassis-with-attitude.html Although the background is much different because of the location, but the exposures are different which is the point I guess. I also agree that if you know how to use your lighting equipment a portrait should not need an HDR treatment.
This article is a bit of a weird idea for sure.
April 21, 2010 01:01 am
if you can control the lights, why HDR?
April 21, 2010 12:37 am
What about developing 3 photos from one raw?
April 21, 2010 12:30 am
Not enough examples!
April 21, 2010 12:27 am
What in God's name is the point of this? HDR and portrait photography only makes sense in extreme lighting conditions. If you wanna shoot against the sun and have more detail than just a silhouette, yes, HDR photography can help. That's about it. The sample photo could have been shot with a single exposure, the dynamic range does not require more shots. A single exposure, curves adjustment and maybe some sharpening and voila, you get the exact same image. It's just so cool and hip to shoot HDR right now that most people seem to forget what the purpose of HDR originally was. If you just like the look of HDR and want to incorporate that into your portrait photography, just use the new HDR toning adjustment in Photoshop CS5, only needs one exposure and looks the same.
April 21, 2010 12:24 am
Only one example...and the EXIF shows:
Camera Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark II N
Image Date: 2010:04:09 16:58:32
Focal Length: 70.0mm
Exposure Time: 0.0025 s (1/400)
ISO equiv: 200
So it doesn't appear that the example used is even HDR. It doesn't look it either.
April 21, 2010 12:22 am
No, really, why? ;)
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