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How to Make the Most of Dynamic Range in Photography

Posted by Aurora Chalbaud on

How to Make the Most of Dynamic Range in Photography

There are many factors that make for a great photo. Dynamic range is one of them. 

Dynamic range is the contrast ratio between the darkest and brightest tones a camera can capture in a single shot. Maximum dynamic range refers to the greatest range of light a digital camera sensor or strip of film can capture. It is measured in stops. Each stop represents a doubling of the amount of light captured. 

While the human eye can see up to 20 stops of dynamic range, a camera cannot see more than 14 stops. 

It’s important to understand the dynamic range. If your camera provides a narrow maximum dynamic range, you run the risk of over or underexposing your photos. Cameras with wider dynamic ranges will allow you to capture highlights and shadows and maintain the perfect exposure. 

How to Improve Dynamic Range

Certain photography tips will help you get the most out of your dynamic range. Here are a few to try out. 

Use a Graduated Narrow Density Filter:

A graduated narrow density filter limits the amount of light in your camera and it will work on certain parts of your picture. So it can keep one part of the picture from being overexposed while leaving other sections as is, as needed. They can also darken areas of the shot. The filters come in a variety of darkness levels so you can find the one best suited to your needs. 

Add Artificial Lighting:

Artificial lighting will illuminate the parts of your image that need it most. It will decrease the range of light your camera needs to capture. It is best for shooting close-up shots as the artificial light won’t reach objects that are farther away. 

Adjust Your Camera Settings:

Many cameras have settings that will auto-expose for bright daylight scenes as well as nighttime environments. Using a low ISO setting is also helpful because it will slightly expand the dynamic range of the camera allowing you to capture high contrast scenes. 

Try High Dynamic Range Photography:

High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography is a post-processing technique that involves combining photos taken with multiple exposures into one optimized image. To achieve the effect, you will need to take several shots of the same scene ensuring you capture it in a variety of light intensities. Then you can use processing software to combine the photos. HDR photography may be the only way to get a perfectly exposed shot, but it cannot be used on photos of moving objects. 

If you want to get terrific photos, mastering dynamic range is a must. Now that you know the tips and tricks involved, you can look forward to getting better-quality shots. How will you be upping your dynamic range game? 

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