While the practice of merging exposures is a topic of much debate, I don’t really care. If you’re not into it, I totally understand and respect that. I too enjoy capturing and processing final images using single frames for 90%+ of my own photography. For the other stuff though, I do love me a nicely balanced, merged exposure and have for many, many years. I find the ability to bracket and merge in post a valuable tool when needing to be in and out of a space in a shorter amount of time (as opposed to setting up multiple lights for each and every shot which can limit the total amount of finished shots in the same time period). I’d like to say that clients will happily pay for 4 or 5 hours while you set up and shoot, but I’ve not found many that will A) have that much down time to shoot unless I want to shoot at 3 in the morning, which I totally don’t) or B) have the budget for, or see the value in a photographer that takes that long to shoot a space. Time is money, and the more I can save myself (and price my time to the client accordingly) the better off I’ll be.
Over my personal journey with HDR, I’ve used quite a few programs (HDR Soft/Photomatix, Everimaging HDR, HDR Efex, Photoshop…) and when Macphun and Trey Ratcliff recently announced Aurora HDR for Mac users, I was very interested. Much of my actual paid photography work falls into the interior design and hospitality realm, working with that wonderful group of folks at the ELK Collective.
My goal has always been a natural representation of light and space, which as many know, can be tricky when tonemapping images through an HDR program. When shooting an interior space, I want to take advantage of the actual dynamic range, getting detail in the highlights and shadows when and where I feel necessary, not just tone mapping for a more dramatic effect. Well, I chose to process my most recent shoot using solely Aurora HDR Pro, and here’s what I found out about that program along the way… Continue reading