What is ‘dynamic range’ and how does it affect our photographs?
When will you know you have exceeded the dynamic range of your camera?
How to deal with the extremes and fix the issue?
- Whilst flash may help lighten some shadows, it is often unlikely to be much use to solve this issue. It may make the brighter areas overexposed or it may not be possible to uses a flash effectively due to distance of the subject (a flash won’t light up a mountain or other distant element in a frame).
- Neutral Density Filters (ND Grads) can help to darken elements of an image but again can only work in select situations. These are often used where the sky is the only part of the image that needs to be underexposed. I will write a tutorial about ND Filters in the coming weeks.
- Shooting in RAW format will provide you with additional leeway in terms of EV and dynamic range. In post production, you will be able to recover highlights and shadow areas of your photographs much more than with a jpg file, without damaging the data recorded. However, RAW data will only realistically give you an additional 1 EV of data and this may often not be enough to solve the problems you have.
- The only other way to deal with this situation is to take multiple exposures, known as bracketed shots covering a wide range of exposure values. This is know as High Dynamic Range photography (HDR) and I will explain this in further detail in the next tutorial.
I hope this tutorial helps to explain the dynamic range problems that most photographers experience.
Once again please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about this post (or anything else on my website), and to pass this tutorial onto any photographer friends you think may benefit from it.
Until next time!