Tony Sweet

HDR Photography: Capturing a Water Scene

Tony Sweet
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Duration:   19  mins

Shooting in the HDR format requires planning and technique. In this video, professional photographer and editor Tony Sweet sets up on the beach of South Carolina’s Edisto Island and guides you through the process of shooting an HDR photograph, which allows you capture the complete dynamic range of an image that can’t be achieved with only one exposure. You will learn how to use exposure compensation to capture your source images, how to employ neutral density filters, and how to use moving water lines to for a creative composition. You will also learn editing tips to achieve your finished HDR composition in post production.

Anchoring his tripod, Tony frames a composition that includes sandy beach, ocean waves, bare trees, and moving clouds. In order to freeze the cloud details, he makes five fast exposures, composing each at a different shutter speed. He stresses the importance of checking the camera’s histogram to make sure you’ve captured all the lights and darks. He will later stitch these images together in editing to achieve the ideal exposure. Tony explains that in photographing an ocean scene, you have to plan to spend a long time on site.

In the editing suite, Tony takes you through the process of creating the final HDR photograph. He uses Photomax software to align his five source exposures together into a single RAW file. You will learn tone mapping including color saturation, luminosity, white balance, and gray scale adjustments. For the next step, Tony moves the single file into Photoshop and uses Viveza software for global adjustments. You will learn how to modify your colors, how to make tonal adjustments for the lights and darks of the ocean and sky, and how to recognize the nuances of opacity. Join pro shooter and editor Tony Sweet on the beach and in the editing suite as he creates a stunning HDR photograph.


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