10 Reasons Why Your HDR Photos Suck

This HDR photo was taken in Redondo Beach California during an amazing summer sunset.

Have you noticed HDR photography gets a lot of criticism on the web? Why? Because HDR photography is hard, that's why. A lot can go wrong from shooting to processing. And it usually does.

The sad reality is the photography critics seem to be on the hunt for HDR photographers. Believe me, I've been there victims many times. They are like the grammar trolls of photography pointing out every detail and mistake.

So how do you shoot good HDR Photography? You can start by avoiding the following 10 reason for bad HDR.

Splash - Oahu Wave Photography

Wave Photography on Oahu Hawaii.

When I was in Oahu a few weeks ago I was shooting a bit of photography like this. Super close to the water as it splashes up against the sand or surrounding rocks. It's actually not the smartest thing to do with an expensive Sony A7r and after a few very close encounters I decided it was enough. But not before I got a few cool shots!

I did actually ended up with a grain of sand in one of the little wheels that took me a few days to finally grind out.

Between Worlds - Oahu Hawaii

Ocean of Oahu Hawaii.

I've always loved shots of clean tropical water on a white sand beach. There is even a good one that comes as a desktop background if you're an OSX user. Well guess what, I finally got one. Except the sand is not exactly white, close enough.

This shot was taken at the infamous Waimea Bay. No tripod, just my trusty Sony A7r with the Zeiss Sonnar T* 35mm f2.8, a lens I've come to truly love and the sharpest lens I've ever shot with. But it does have some minor drawbacks which you can see here on my review.


Winds Edge - Oahu Hawaii

Hawaii Landscape Photography.

After driving around the Island a few times my wife and I found this cool spot. It was near china man's hat and was one of the few places in Oahu that's pretty vacant of people. 

I've been to Oahu a few times and have always been busy surfing or getting married or hanging out with the parents when I was younger, but now that I had my own car, my wife and I completely explored the island. It's surprising how small the island really is but incredible how photogenic it is. You can pretty much shoot endlessly there. 

Mahai'ula Bay - Big Island Hawaii

Hawaii Big Island Landscape.

As a landscape photographer rarely do you find a place where you can just roll up mid day and take a breath taking photo. This location is one of those places. With the emerald blue water, perfect skies and white sand beaches, I ended up only using Lightroom with a few minor adjustments to process the shot. That almost never happens for. I almost always have to use Photoshop to adjust something. 

Waipio Valley - Big Island Hawaii

Waipio Valley of the Big Island Hawaii.

Waipi'o Valley is one of those shots every Big Island tourist has taken at one point or another. But you know what? I don't care because it's still super cool and makes for an amazing photo. There are lot of great places like this on the Big Island that are absolutely stunning yet super easy to access.

People actually live around here and down in the valley and get to see this every day. Imagine being born and raised here, you would probably be completely ignorant to how awesome the view this is. But at the same time, you'd come to L.A. and probably think the Hollywood sign is cool, something I have to stare at everyday as I'm stuck in traffic. :)

I did something unusual on this photo that I don't usually do. . .

Manini'owali Sunset - Big Island Hawai'i

Big Island Hawaii Sunset.

On my first few days on the Big Island of Hawai'i, we had some incredible sunsets. Some of the best I've seen. The Big Island has some of the nicest beaches in the world and some of the clearest waters. This beach, Manini'owali is one of my favorite on a quiet evening like the night I took this photo. It seemed like nobody was around. A few turtles were swimming around in the crystal clear water making the night even more surreal. 

It's one of the most amazing places I've been to and the whole time I was there shooting photos I kept thinking of how awesome the experience was, it just didn't seem real. 

Save Your Skies With Luminosity Masks

Hawaiin sunset at Waimea Bay.

How to use luminosity masks in Photoshop to bring down those washed out highlights in your sunsets

Often times when shooting sunsets you'll find the area just around the sun gets blown out by the intense light. It's important to bring down those highlights to help avoid lost colors and pixels in your images which will also help give you a much deeper rendering of both color in the highlights. 

It sounds complicated and it looks complicated, but I'll show you the easiest and quickest way to correct those washed out highlights.

Lemons To Lemonaid With HDR Photography

HDR Photo of some of the beautiful Palm Trees that line the beaches of Oahu.

Although some people would disagree with the title, HDR photography for me has always been a great way to turn some not so interesting scenes into something with a little life.

As with many HDR and Landscape photographers I always strive to take the best possible landscape with the most amazing weather conditions possible. But anyone who shoots landscapes knows that it's extremely rare to go to the location planned and for it to give us what we want the first time there. Most of the time you'll get rained out, overcast or it's simply boring. That's when HDR photography comes in.

Sony A7, A7r, A7s Full Frame E Mount Lens List

Sony FE E Mount Native Lens List

Over the last year Sony has really worked hard on updating it's E mount lens lineup. It's something that they seem to take very serious and if you're an owner of a Sony A7, A7r, or A7s you are very fortunate.

Since there seems to be a new lens every few months I've decided to keep a consolidated list of all available native full frame E mount lenses.

I was about to update my metabones adapter to the MK IV but now, I think that money would be better spent on new glass.

See the list. There are surprisingly a lot of lenses now.

Copyright © Alik Griffin 2012


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