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Practical HDRI: High Dynamic Range Imaging Using Photoshop CS5 and Other Tools [Paperback]

Jack Howard
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

7 Sep 2010

Practical HDRI, 2nd Edition, by pro photographer Jack Howard, leads you into the the new frontier of High Dynamic Range Imaging, a multi-shot technique to digitally capture, store, and edit the full luminosity range of a scene in ways not possible in a single captured image. Fully updated for 2010, the 2nd Edition covers the HDR process from image capture through post-processing for web and print. Practical HDRI, 2nd Edition is richly illustrated with step-by-step tutorials for creating professional results using the leading HDR software titles, including the latest versions of Adobe Photoshop, Photomatix Pro, FDRTools, Dynamic Photo HDR, and HDR PhotoStudio.

Howard instructs from experience as a photographer and a writer, with an emphasis on making the HDR process work for you.

Topics include:

Step-by-step tutorialsBasic and advanced workflows and workaroundsWeb and print optimizationFile management, keywordingAdvice on cameras, gear and software

HDR imaging can be challenging and frustrating for the uninitiated, as it involves both field and computer expertise. However, Jack Howard explains this complex subject matter in a practical way that will not intimidate the beginner, nor bore the experienced photographer. The emphasis is on the creative process and how to make it work for you-rather than the science behind it.

Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Rocky Nook; 2 edition (7 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933952636
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933952635
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 20.8 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 878,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Jack Howard picked up his first SLR camera as a teenager and has spent the twenty years since exploring all aspects of photography. From the wet darkroom to cutting-edge digital imaging techniques, he's thoroughly embraced the evolution of the photographic process.

Currently, Jack is the Director of New & Social Media for Adorama Camera where his blogs and podcasts discuss all matters photographic. He was previously the Editor of, the online home of Popular Photography and American Photo magazines.

Jack holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from Rutgers University, and acquired his photographic skills through practice, trial and error, and from many peers and colleagues along the way. While he has mostly retired from photojournalism, his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Asbury Park Press, The Star-Ledger, and many other newspapers.

Jack lives in New Jersey with his wife Corey, and their new baby Avery Rose; their German Shepherd dog, Bailey; a betta fish; and more camera gear and gadgets than you can imagine!

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A walk through HDR 6 Oct 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well worth the purchase. Some may find the focus on the key HDR software packages a bit of a negative point. This is not so, it shows the author is covering the main player bases which appear to be in it for the long haul in this processing technique.
The book itself walks you through the process from capture (inc. equipement) to the final output. You can dip in and dip out at any point to suit yourself without fear of missing something.
Extremely useful book well worth the investment if you are taking advantages of the HDR process. It does focus on the photographic application of HDR not on the artistic interpretation opportunities of HDR, which suits me.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Up-to-date HDR book featuring the most current HDR software 30 Aug 2010
By Thomas Crouse - Published on
This is a hot-off-the-presses book on HDRI that covers the latest releases of the major software players: Photoshop CS5, Photomatix Pro 3.2, FDRTools Advanced 2.3, DynamicPhoto HDR 4.6 and HDR Photostudio 2. The book covers all the essential information for HDR, starting w/ equipment & lens, some basics on composition, taking bracketed shots, processing w/each program and finally post processing. That's a lot of ground to cover in 225 pages but it does it fairly well. Of course readers who have settled on one program would find the coverage of the other programs irrelevant. But if you use several different programs, or are still considering all options, you'll find the book useful.

As you'd expect with this breath of coverage, it doesn't get into too much detail on any one program. And while he describes what the various sliders do, he doesn't make suggestions as to which are the most useful or recommend settings. Beginners may find this frustrating. Also, I wish he had covered each program in its entirety in separate chapters. Instead, he covers them piecemeal in separate chapters on generating the HDR image, advanced techniques, and tone mapping. But all the essential information is there with plenty of images, examples, and step-by-step help.

If you're looking for a good overview of shooting HDR and the most current software packages available, this book should do it. It provides enough detail on all aspects of HDR and the processing programs to get you well on your way. But if you want a more in depth treatment of one specific program, you might have better options.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly good book on the subject 26 Jan 2011
By Jeff Ornstein - Published on
I have been creating High Dynamic Range Images for over four years and everything I learned was from trial and error. This book should be a must read for any photographer seriously considering attacking the images of HDR.
Mr. Howard writes in an easy, smooth and concise form yet really explains some of the most technical and complicated procedures in photography. This book is a primer on how to shoot and create in camera HDRI; but then he explains, in detail, the post shoot processing needed to create the final image. He has really thoroughly explained the different softwares available with the exception of NIK HDR EFEX PRO (which probably was introduced after the book was published) and I personally find to be the most comprehensive software out there.

You cannot go wrong with this read!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Covering ALL the bases! 24 Feb 2011
By Walt - Published on
I had read Jack Howard's first edition of Practical HDRi and loved it. The Second edition is even better and includes updated information on the latest and greatest applications used in HDRi images!

This book leads you step by step through the HDR process from exposure, composition, camera and lens choices, shooting the scene, work flow, tone mapping, and optimizing the image after tone mapping.

HDR can be a daunting process for someone who has never tried (believe me, I've been there and I wish I had this book when I started!), and even if you are an experienced photographer who is familiar with HDRi there is still much to learn about the process with Howard's tips, techniques, and work flow suggestions.

Whether you currently shoot HDRi or have seen the amazing images that other have created with the technique and are looking for comprehensive guide, Practical HDRi fits the bill.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly well written and extensive discourse - give it a 5 *****! 20 Mar 2012
By Iris Yoffa - Published on
When I first became aware of HDRI (High Dynamic Range Imaging), it was presented as a tool for correcting photos that were taken under conditions that were far from optimal, especially those "once in a lifetime" opportunities. By combining multiple exposures of an image using a software application on your computer, a wider range of contrast and detail can be brought out than with a single shot. There is a variety of software applications designed to find the best areas of exposure in the various shots that are then combined into a noise-free, optimally exposed image. Today, the term HDRI is also used to refer to the surreal and vibrant special effects one can create using a series of exposures.

In his book, Practical HDRI, Jack Howard presents you with very in-depth explanations of the rather complex technology. He discusses the cameras and accessories used to generate Exposure Bracketing and Burst Mode in the first chapter. There are tips for training your sense of composing, framing, and exposing an image in chapter 2. Some of the most useful and popular lenses for use in HDR are the focus of the next chapter. And chapter 4 presents the more technical aspects of the process, such as file formats, metering, bracketing, and file management and organization.

Chapter 5 begins the discussion of the software tools you will need, or may just want, to use for organizing images and creating the HDR merge. The applications presented are Dynamic PhotoHDR4, FDRTools Advanced 2.3, Photomatrix Pro 3.2, Adobe Photoshop CS5/CS5 Extended, and HDR PhotoStudio 2. The screenshots and step-by-step instructions presented are given for all the previously mentioned software applications if the feature or process is available. How to use advanced techniques such as deghosting, batch processing, single file conversion, and advanced merge techniques, are explored for each of the applications.

Chapter 7 addresses working in 32-bit space using a variety of tools and techniques on HDR Images. Making selections, creating complex masks, working with exposure, saturation and white balance, light painting with brushes (dodge & burn), and using the Rubber Stamp tool for cleanup in the various programs rounds out the chapter. Chapter 8 introduces Tone Mapping 32-bit HDR images, which comes in two flavors. Globally uses the approach of applying conversion settings to all the data in the image. Locally analyzes the image and applies changes to targeted areas based on pixel values. Tone-mapping scales down the dynamic range of an image while retaining the HDR look. This technique is used to accommodate display media such as monitors and printers.

The final chapter addresses the issues of output-specific image optimization and fixing some post tone-mapping problems. After down-sampling a 32-bit high dynamic range image to 8 or 16 bits, there are three major issues that the author cautions you to pay attention to: color profiles, histogram spread, and gamut warnings. Each of these topics is explained and approaches for making sure that your image is processed for optimal display results are provided. The chapter continues with Digital Test Strips: how and why to use them, and a quite extensive amount of material on the virtues and methods of using Adobe Camera Raw 6 for tone-mapped images. There is a brief epilogue titled "Where Do We Go from Here?".

So there you have it. This is an incredibly well written and extensive discourse on the hot topic of high dynamic range imaging in just 225 pages. The example images and step-by-step images are impressive and beautifully reproduced by the publisher, rockynook. I've enjoyed just leafing through the pages as a source of entertainment and inspiration, as well as education. On the 1 to 5 scale, I give it a 5 *****!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Practical HDRI review 5 Feb 2012
By Joe Radcliffe - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I just started my adventure into HDR and the book has helped me by identifying HDR opportunties and how to set up the camera to take them. It has a good tutorial on using Photonatix Pro which I use. I still use the book as I shoot and process.
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