I know I usually do not post commercial advertisement photos, but these really turned out great. In general, commercial advertisement photoshoots are very organized, well planned, well subsidized and carried out by a big crew with members responsible for the location’s availability, equipment setup, people/models organization etc. Those three images however, show how an improvised photoshoot, carried out only by the photographer with one camera and one tripod can produce some great shots of the location of interest. The only thing one must be careful about is how to create some interesting images with as little resources as possible. And what a better way to achieve that than shooting at sunset after a swift southern storm?! Just wait for it to pass, after all no one wants to be hit by a lightning bolt, mount the camera on the tripod and snap on. There is one thing though, that can get in your way. Because of the low bright sun and the highly reflective surfaces (after all we are shooting after a storm), the images may be very contrasty with plenty of highlights and shadows. And because you will be the only “crew member” shooting out there, you will not be able to setup multiple flashes and manipulate them with the speed of the setting sun. So what’s the solution?! You guessed it – HDR. Just take multiple images of the same frame at a different exposure and then merge them in Photoshop (or whatever other software you are using). This will allow you to bring an insane array of details in the highlights, the mid-tones and the shadows. Here are few things to keep in mind while shooting though:
1. Avoid shooting moving objects – you will produce a lot of “ghost” artifacts and this will make the post processing a living hell;
2. (Somewhat) To avoid #1, shoot on a tripod with a remote. Any shake of the camera will increase the ghosting;
3. Shoot with as low ISO as possible, but also attempt to eliminate very long exposures. If you do not follow either one of the latter requirements, you will produce very noisy images and, believe me, this noise will become very VERY well distinguished once you merge all the frames in your final HDR image;
4. Close the viewfinder – make sure there is no light going into the camera through the viewfinder;
5. And last, but not least, always look for an interesting angle of the subject you are shooting. For example the last image was shot through my car windshield which was still wet and covered in drops from the recent downpour.
This technique is also very good for photographing large outdoor events which would be either impossible to light up or simply would look great under a dramatic sky. The same photography technique was used in capturing the outdoor reception of one of our most recent weddings in Munford AL. Here you can see the photo of the stormy sunset over the reception, as well as some more photos from the beautiful southern wedding.