Professional HDR at its best

“Good photographs are not taken by a good camera but by a good photographer”

It is incredible to think that Jeff has been at this hobby for less than a year, the quality and craftmanship he demonstrates belies his limited time at this game. Thankfully he caught the FLICKR bug and uploads his work there for all to follow.

You would be hard pressed to find a more accomplished portfolio on professional HDR, B&W and wide angled photography. Enjoy this small collection from Jeff’s meteoric collection:

HDR steam engine

Jeff doesn’t give away his secrets on how he captures his shots, but one can make calculated assumptions as to the processes (pre/post capture) he adopts in his workflow. This shot is one of my favourites, see how he has captured the child’s amazement. The stillness is highlighted further by the long exposure Jeff has used, around a second, with the blurred shape of the adult walking behind the boy demonstrating the technique perfectly. A long exposure enabled a lovely bokeh from the lights on the steam engine, the black steam to feather off into the sky as dawn hits. The composition is perfect and you get a real sense of scale from the capture from the small children standing next to the steam engine. Every capture should tell a story, with the title ‘generations’ Jeff has certainly done that.

Picture within a picture

Jeff demonstrates how sometimes a single shot can capture more than one view, and with selective cropping you can see what he means.

HDR Lighthouse by the sea

Jeff: Sometimes an image can present an alternative view. I don’t remember doing this before but it is always good to try something new. A half frame crop which I thinks adds character to the lighthouse and house below.

HDR Lighthouse cropped

Using Light and Filters

Light in photography is arguably the most important element. The Golden Hour is a great time to photograph a scene, below is an example of a simple composition brought to life by the light. Jeff cleverly introduces a Neutral Density Gradient Filter to limit the amount of light captured over a gradient through the picture and to give the sky a deeper shade of blue.

HDR sunset on a small building

Jeff: A quarryman’s hut in Portland bathed in a dawn glow. One of the first times I used an ND Grad filter coupled with multi exposures. The composition is set at ninety degrees to the rising sun and a halo has been reflected in the sky. Thought about removing it but it is not that obvious that it detracts from the image. Love the horizon and cloud formation here.

Revisiting a scene

Jeff demonstrates how for he has come since first starting out in HDR. He uses a specialist piece of software called Photomatix to combine his multiple exposures of the same scene to generate a full HDR image with Tone Mapping.

The first HDR image he took.

HDR church created in Photomatix

See how far Jeff has developed.

HDR Church

HDR here has been expertly accompanied again by the right mix of composition and light.

Leading lines

Finding leading lines in a composition can help lead the viewers eye to the Point of Focus (POF). See below how Jeff uses three leading lines to guide the viewers eyes to the boat, the POF. You have the edge of the pebbles, the Horizon and the clouds all leading the eye.

HDR boat landed on pebbles on the shore


A good technique for achieving balance in photography is to take advantage of water and reflections. A calm, crisp surface will help you achieve a sharpe, bright and balanced composition. Rough surfaces with ripples and waves limit the scope on balance in a shot, but allowing an extended exposure time can soften the surface, giving a successfully balanced shot with a different feel.

HDR Canal with sky reflected on the still water HDR lake with the sky reflected

Black & White HDR

HDR in B&W photographs can add drama to a shot.

HDR Black and White derelict building from inside HDR Black and White Church and grave stone HDR Black and White fort


Today’s moral. Photography combines many techniques, requires years of practice and requires an end objective, a story. HDR is a wonderful technique used in your digital post processing, but don’t forget about the basics and don’t over use it. To make a successful HDR photograph still requires the professional execution as a standard shot does, composition, light, the right equipment and of course the right moment. Good luck.

> HDR Before and After

Gary Hartley

Gary Hartley is The Floating Frog. A seasoned freelance web designer with skills in UI/UX, CRO design, WordPress, branding, PSD-HTML conversions and more. Got a project you need to start or take to the next level? Please, get in touch!