HDR (high dynamic range) image processing can be very cool for some types of photos. Whether done manually or with a dedicated HDR program, it almost always requires shooting multiple RAW images at various exposures then combining them in software during post-processing. I’ll show you how I set my camera to get the photos – without using a tripod in most cases.
If you know me or read what I write, there’s no point in telling you how much I dislike using a tripod. Yes, sometimes they’re necessary. But I think that time is not very often, and I’ll always try to get out of using a tripod.
For HDR photo stacking, you need to shoot several images at varying exposure values (EV). I shoot seven photos at these exposure values: -3 EV, -2 EV, -1 EV, 0 EV, +1 EV, +2 EV, and +3EV. Then I combine them in software afterward to expand the dynamic range and get a nice HDR image.
The next part depends on your camera. My Canon 80D allows me to bracket seven exposures and here are my settings:
Canon EOS 80D:
- Menu C.Fn.1-5, 3: 7 shots.
- Menu C.Fn.1-4, 1: – 0 + sequence.
- Menu C.Fn. 1-6, 2: Safety shift, ISO speed.
- Continuous shooting mode: on, high speed.
- Bracketing: on, 1 EV intervals.
These settings in my EOS 80D camera set me up to take seven shots starting from most underexposed (-3 EV) to most overexposed (+3 EV), changing the ISO if needed, just by depressing the shutter button and holding it. When seven exposures are taken, the camera stops shooting the sequence.
I have a fast memory card installed in my camera, and I’ve made other settings that allow for high-speed shooting like ISO noise compensation, and others. The point is to set up to take a series of high speed bracketed exposures. This allows you not to use a tripod during daylight hours while shooting an HDR sequence. If it were night, you would have to use a tripod anyway, so this is not shocking, and there is no getting around this.