How to shoot HDR images

The following will explain how to shoot an HDR image and is meant to provide you with a basic understanding of what equipment and techniques you will need to achieve a high-quality HDR image. Additionally, you can access many tutorials online at websites such as and

Tools of Trade:

1. Camera: A camera with the ability to perform auto exposure bracketing or a camera with manual exposure settings is recommended. Please refer to your camera's manual to determine how to set up auto exposure bracketing or manual exposure for your specific camera.

2. Tripod: A solid tripod is highly recommended. It is important that your camera remains still and in the same position for each of the multiple exposures.

3. Remote or Shutter Release: A remote or shutter release cable helps prevent motion (from pressing the shutter button) from affecting the camera, however, this is optional.

Camera Setup:

1. Mount Camera on Tripod. The best results will be achieved if the camera is steady and does not move during the exposure series.

2. Camera Settings:

a. Turn off manual settings such as white balance, flash, autofocus etc.
b. Set the camera in the Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) mode, if possible:
i. Choose number of exposures in the series.
ii. Typically a series of 3 exposures (-2, 0, +2) is sufficient.
iii. Using 5 exposures with 1 stop intervals (-2, -1, 0, +1, +2) is also a common setting.
c. Shoot in Aperture Priority mode. Aperture mode ensures the depth of field remains consistent throughout the entire exposure series.
d. Turn on Continuous Shooting Mode for fastest shooting.
e. Set ISO to as low a setting as possible to help prevent noise.

3. Shooting: Choose a scene with extreme levels of light (highlights and shadows). These types of situations are when the HDR technique is most beneficial. The most common scenes include landscape, architecture, nighttime, and indoor photography.

What kind of camera will I need?

A digital SLR camera with interchangeable lenses is the ideal solution, however, almost any camera will work that has exposure bracketing or manual exposure controls.

Do I need to use a tripod when shooting multiple images?

No, but it is highly recommended. In order to achieve the highest quality, images taken on a steady tripod will ensure that the camera does not move as each image is captured. If it is not possible to use a tripod, the camera should be steadied as much as possible. This can be done by leaning against a tree or a wall or steadying the camera on top of a rock or railing.

How many shots should I use to create an HDR image with HDR Efex Pro 2?

Most scenes can be captured with 5 images shot 1 stop apart or with 3 images shot 2 stops apart. More difficult subjects, such as shooting into the sun, may require up to 7 images shot 1 stop apart.

There is no limitation to the number of images that can be merged. Testing and feedback from users have shown that most scenes can be captured in 5 shots and the most difficult scenes (such as shooting into the sun) can be captured in 7 to 9 shots.

How many stops apart should I shoot my images?

For best results, images should be shot at no more than 2 stops apart.

Was this article helpful?
0 out of 0 found this helpful
Have more questions? Submit a request