Originally Posted by Tony
I'd like to know more on how to do HDR photography. All the way from camera settings to what software to use.
It's pretty straightforward. First, place your camera on a tripod or similarly stable surface. Hand-held HDR is do-able, but you need very steady hands. Some of my attempts have succeeded, but most have not. Second, shoot in RAW mode, not jpeg.
Depending on the dynamic range of the scene--the range between the darkest shadows and brightest highlights--you generally want to take three to five exposures. In my experience, three is usually sufficient. While in manual mode, I first dial in my desired aperture. Once that's locked in, I'll look at my meter and adjust the shutter speed until the needle is centered. I take the shot. Then, I take a shot at -1 EC and another at +1 EC. Since my camera has an auto-exposure bracketing (AEB) feature, this can be done with relative ease. AEB allows you to take three pre-set bracketed exposures (e.g., -1, 0, +1) in rapid succession. Without it, you have to take each different exposure individually.
The final step is to process the files in a software program. I use Photomatix Pro 3. You open it up and load the RAW files that will comprise the HDR. Once Photomatix is done blending the RAW files, it will display the HDR image. Next, it's on to tonemapping. Click the tonemapping button, and you'll see the same image, except that various adjustments have been applied to it. From there, it's a matter of tinkering with various settings (strength, saturation, etc.) to obtain your preferred result. HDRs range from looking unreal, hypersaturated, and cartoonish to so subtle the viewer may not even be aware that the photo is HDR.
2) RAW mode
3) Take multiple exposures