Things to know about dynamic range in photography
As we said, our eyes perceive a majestic landscape but our camera does not do it justice. How can there be such a difference between what my eyes see and what is printed afterwards in the image?
Even though cameras nowadays are launching revolutionary innovations and giving us wonderful shots, they are still far from the “mechanism” that our eyes enjoy.
Until now, we have not been able to invent a device that reflects the scene exactly as our eyes do, resulting in photos that are often not worthy of the immortalized landscape.
It’s all down to dynamic range, the concept we’re going to delve into today so you can apply it to your photos today and take a step forward as a photographer.
Consider the exposure meter to improve dynamic range
To measure the light, your camera uses the exposure meter which gives it a good result. But unlike our eyes, the exposure meter takes a measure of the different brightnesses of the scene, it does not take them all into account as the eyes would.
Hence the importance of properly measuring the light, to obtain the correct exposure in an instant. If you find it necessary, you can increase the dynamic range of your photo in post-processing, which will be easy if your scene is well exposed and you are going to work in RAW format.
Increase dynamic range whenever needed
Although you will not have to increase the dynamic range all the time because your device can give impressive results, it is better to know some tricks that will help you to increase this value and therefore also to translate reality into the image as you see it.
Snap the histogram
Imagine you’re working against the light and you don’t have props that allow you to get good exposure across the whole image. How do you go about getting a great photo?
You can calibrate the histogram. This technique consists in exposing the areas of the image that represent shadows because in post-production they are the most complex areas to recover the information lost en route, while the areas of the image with an excess of light, are easier to recover.
Help yourself with a shoe flash
If you find yourself in the same situation, a backlit landscape and you have a shoe flash, use it.
You can use it as a fill flash and get good exposure in the foreground of the image, whether it’s a person or an object, and in the background of the composition too, for the amount of light that there is all around…
The flash will help to reduce the difference in brightness of the scene and thus achieve a good dynamic range.
Use Graduated Filters for Outdoor Landscapes
Graduated filters specially solve this problem. Once installed on a cinema lens of your objective, the filter will be able to give a good exposure on the totality of the image.
The darkest part of the filter works on the brightest area of the image, the sky, in general, while the lighter part of the filter should be located on the darkest part of the scene, which usually corresponds to the floor.
In this way, the filter makes it possible to obtain a good exposure. Also with a very wide dynamic range since the nuances exist on the lightest and darkest areas of the image.
It’s not always easy to capture with your camera the dynamic range of a scene as seen by the eye. But if you rely on techniques and photo accessories that help you take advantage of the full potential of your camera, we will get a little closer to the results we are trying to produce.