Taking a good portrait in HDR is harder than you think! In this short and easy tutorial, I will explain the basics around setting up the perfect shot. If you have ever wondered how people produce dream like High Dynamic Range photographs, you have come to the right place. So sit back, relax, and read through this tutorial, I highly recommend printing it out and bringing it with you on your next shoot, it will not take up much space, and could prove to be a lifesaver!
Below is an ordered list of exactly what you will need to take the perfect HDR portrait:
One of the most important elements of HDR photography is the Tripod. It is near impossible to take a good portrait using the HDR technique in any lighting condition, so always pack a good tripod.
Position your model away from direct sunlight. Unless you want to go for an extremely over saturated feel for your photograph. The reason behind this is simple, HDR helps capture and bring out detail in the shadows as well as the light, and smooth those details together. You do not want the photos you shoot below a “0″ EV setting to be over satured, or else your image will not always process correctly in an HDR program like Photomatix, and you will lose the detail in your shadows.
For a typical HDR shot I set my cameras bracketing to take 3 shots, at a 1 step EV spacing. This lets me end up with a normally exposed photograph, one with -1 EV Spacing (darker,) and one that has a +1 EV spacing (Brighter.)
I shoot with an old Olympus E-10 DSLR and as it does not have a very high ISO setting available to me (ISO 320 MAX), I tell my subjects to stay very still, if they move even slightly, and I am not going for any sort of motion effect, I retake the shot. It is important even if you have a very fancy camera, that your subject stays still, even if they blink, a closed eye in one of the 3 shots that are being combined, can degrade the image quality a lot.
Position your model in a comfortable pose. I can not stress this enough. An uncomfortable pose will be much harder to capture for a beginner. If your model is in pain, they will tend to shift around a bit where they are sitting / standing. This will once again effect your image quality allowing for a very blurry shot.
Use a remote shutter release. They are usually not to expensive, I would recommend the wired ones, but a wireless should work just as well. The reason for this is twofold, one is that you don’t screw up your perfectly framed shot by moving the tripod, and the second is to keep the camera from shaking. If you are using a larger zoom, or are in low lighting, the vibrations from your finger hitting the shutter can cause blur in your photographs.
I hope these tips help you all. I have compiled them as best I could from my experience. If you have any questions feel free to put them in the comment box below, and I will address all questions and concerns as they come in!