As with most photographers I leapt at HDR photography when it became fashionable. I was using it for a huge variety of play things. As a professional I now us HDR as a saviour when the conditions demand it.
At the last minute a client added a request to a job I was shooting. He required a series of images of a building they rent out for functions. Unfortunately this is a building usually surrounded by cars and humans, so I had a very small window of opportunity where the surrounding area was coned off. The optimum time for taking the images would be early or late in the day. Unfortunately this was not possible.
On arrival I found the day to be incredibly bright, with the sun coming from behind the building creating an extreme shadow in the area you see here. The clouds were very bright, which added to the difficulty.
The beauty of bracketing and using software (I use Photomatix) is that, if done correctly, you head back to the studio with enough information to create an image that will please the client. Of course it is incredibly easy to create hideous, over saturated and processed images. Whether you find the image above to your taste doesn’t really matter, and you will have your own feelings when processing HDR. I know it is representative of the building, and will suit the purpose the client requires it for. That is all that matters.
There are a myriad of comprehensive tutorials online for creating HDR images. But here a few of my personal critical tips to create decent HDR images. Check each of your bracketed images. Make sure each component of the images is saveable either in the highlights or shadows. If not use exposure compensation to allow for the extremes. Use Aperture priority! This was a massive mistake I made for a long time. You simply will not get sharp images if you do not. Take your image into the HDR software of your choice. Use mild settings that create an almost flat, bland image. Make sure you save a preset and use this for all of your images. The client will then receive consistency. Then make sure you adjust the image in PS or lightroom. I never use the final export from Photomatix. Generally there is some contrast and sharpening going on.
I will still deliver the non HDR image to the client. However this will have blown out skies. BUT you would be amazed how many people simply hate HDR images. So I try as hard as I can to keep it natural. But giving them both options is a great idea.
Fun Fun Fun!