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Rick Sammon's HDR Photography Secrets for Digital Photographers Paperback – April 26, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0470612750 ISBN-10: 0470612754 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (April 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470612754
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470612750
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #891,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Top photographer Rick Sammon shares his greatest HDR tips and tricks

High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography is a process in which a photographer shoots multiple shots of the same subject at varying exposure settings and then "stitches" the images together with photo-editing software into a single photo that presents sharper color and focus than a single image. World-renowned digital photographer and Canon Explorer of Light Rick Sammon reveals his most amazing HDR tips, tricks, and techniques for creating the best possible HDR images.

Packed with more than 150 of Sammon's stunning full-color photos and more than 200 techniques, this invaluable guide inspires and motivates you to capture and edit your own unique still-life images.

  • World-renowned digital photographer and Canon Explore of Light Rick Sammon reveals a wealth of unparalleled High Dynamic Range (HDR) tips, tricks, and techniques
  • Inspires both amateur and experienced photographers to boost their creativity, and improve the quality of their images in the digital darkroom
  • Features more than 150 beautiful images from Sammon's own portfolio as well as more than 200 tips and tricks for shooting and editing HDR images

HDR Secrets for Digital Photographers unveils an abundance of tips and tricks that will help you make your good HDR photos great.

Top Ten HDR Photography Tips
Amazon-exclusive content from author Rick Sammon

If you’re new to HDR, here are my top ten tips for capturing the best HDR photographs.

1) When capturing an HDR image, you should shoot at least 3 exposures. My suggestion is to shoot: 0 EV, +2 EV and -2EV

2) Keep the aperture constant between all captures.

3) Use a cable release or self-timer.

4) Use Photomatix to process your images.

5) In Photomatix, adjust the White Point slider first - to preserve the highlights.

6) When processing in Photomatix, make sure the highlights are not washed out and the shadows are not blocked up.

7) After Photomatix, increase sharpness and contrast in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.

8) Try a touch of Topaz Adjust on your HDR images to add an artistic touch.

9) If you have an old JPEG file that you’d like to transform into an HDR-style image, try Topaz Adjust to create a pseudo HDR image.

10) And in my opinion the most important tip is to be creative and have fun with HDR.

HDR Photos from Author Rick Sammon (Click to enlarge)


Add Contrast
HDR really rocks when it comes to scenes with a lot of contrast. Here, you see show the HDR (top image) is greatly improved over the bottom image (standard exposure). Yes, HDR is very cool, but never underestimate the power of an interesting subject, such as one of the buildings in the Summer Palace of Beijing, China. Also remember the basic rules of composition – framing the subject with a foreground element in this case.


Think Photoshop + Photomatix
When processing a set of images in Photomatix, the final image can tend to look a bit flat. In Photoshop (or Elements, Lightroom or Aperture), increase the contrast and sharpness of your image to really make the final image “pop” with color and detail. By increasing the contrast, you will lose a bit of detail in the shadow areas, but remember: light illuminates and shadows define.


Envision the End Result
When processing a set of images in Photomatix, the final image can tend to look a bit flat. In Photoshop (or Elements, Lightroom or Aperture), increase the contrast and sharpness of your image to really make the final image “pop” with color and detail. By increasing the contrast, you will lose a bit of detail in the shadow areas, but remember: light illuminates and shadows define.

From the Back Cover

Make some magic with HDR photography

Breathtaking detail. Spectacular contrast. Unbelievable texture. These are all hallmarks of HDR (high dynamic range) photography. When you learn the secrets of how to shoot, process, and display HDR images, you'll understand why master photographer Rick Sammon calls it "magical" — and you'll also know why he says it's a ton of fun. Ready to get started? See the color, direction, and quality of the light as well as the contrast

  • Learn the secrets of HDR by exploring dozens of before-and-after examples

  • Discover how to avoid digital noise and chromatic aberrations

  • Find out when you should NOT use HDR — and why

  • Learn to process HDR images with Photomatix and enhance them even more with Adobe Camera RAW and Photoshop

  • Explore the tricks possible with Exposure Fusion

  • Build your composing and visualizing skills


More About the Author

Rick Sammon has published 31 books, incluidng Rick Sammon's Digital Photography Secrets, Face to Face, Exploring the Light and Rick Sammon's Pocket Guide to Travel Photography.

Rick writes for PCPhoto, Outdoor Photographer and Layers magazine.

Rick hosts photography and Photoshop shows on kelbytraining.com .
Rick gives more than a dozen photography workshops (including private workshops) and presentations around the world each year. He also presents at Photoshop World, which Rick says is a 'blast.'

Rick is also the author of the Canon Digital Rebel XT lessons on the Canon Digital Learning Center. He is also a Canon Explorer of Light.

When asked about his photo specialty, Rick says, 'My specialty is not specializing.'

See www.ricksammon.com for more information.

Customer Reviews

Rick example photos look like photographs and not the "garish" colors see in other HDR books.
B. Norman
My hope is that I save you some money and an hour or two of reading a book that offers nothing but a gaudy cover.
Reed Mangino
Rick has reached the point in his life where he doesn't do anything unless it is a great, interesting adventure.
Trey Ratcliff

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

132 of 148 people found the following review helpful By Reed Mangino on May 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I originally removed this review after the author contacted me. I felt bad for him. But last night I ran into someone else who bought the book and felt cheated - just as I did. So... I am reposting the review in hopes of saving other people from tossing their money away.

This book is absolute fluff. If you've been doing HDR for more than a month you already know everything this book has to offer: start in aperture then drop down to manual, not everything is meant to be shot using HDR, etc.

Open to a random page and you'll surely find the words "This is my favorite HDR shot". Rick *loves* his own work, which is utterly surprising when you realize how overdone it is. If you really want to learn about HDR pick up Trey Ratcliff's book on the subject - it is intelligently written, thoughtfully done, contains a plethora of useful technical information (along with a meat-n-potatoes tutorial), *isn't* written in a 14-24 point font, and isn't a compilation of self-promotional material.

When Rick contacted me he felt compelled to share with me one of his mother's philosophies: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" - yes... he actually said that. I disagree of course. My hope is that I save you some money and an hour or two of reading a book that offers nothing but a gaudy cover.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Conrad J. Obregon TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
Rick Sammon is an author whose enthusiasm comes leaping through his writings on photography, and this characteristic is so delightful that it makes reading any of his books a pleasure. In "Rick Sammon's HDR Photography Secrets for digital photographers" [sic] he turns his attention to high dynamic range photography ("HDR") and other techniques for extending the range of light in a photograph from the limited reach of digital cameras toward the range of the human eye.

After a hit-and-run set of general photography tips he talks about the general considerations of HDR photography including the importance of bracketing and the conflict between artistic and realistic output. He describes the use of what has become the most popular HDR software, Photomatix Pro, and then explains the effects of a Photoshop plug-in, Topaz Adjust. He also discusses a few other techniques that will expand the range of light like adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw, and then some special output techniques like panoramas and black-and-white photography. He describes his own equipment and lists several web sites that he finds useful. A few chapters consist mainly of Sammon's own HDR images without much explanation.

The discussions that I found most useful were the question of when to use HDR instead of standard processing and when each of the three modes in Photomatix (exposure fusion, detail enhancer and tone compressor) would be most appropriate.

When new technologies are introduced, I consider photography books worth reading just because they introduce the new techniques. As a technology matures, I hold books to a higher standard than the earlier books because the main questions that photographers ask are now apparent.
Read more ›
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Paul H. Pronovost MD on June 6, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While there are beautiful HDR photos captured in the book, I don't think the book is much more than a "pep-rally" for HDR photogrpahy. The repeating theme is to just put the time in and play with the various sliders. The book heavily endorses certain programs such as Photomatix, Topaz labs, etc and my guess is that these issues are thinly veiled endorsements/advertising from the companies. There really aren't any thought out or elaborated technical aspects to HDR photography and you can easily learn as much from the brief manuel found with Photomatix (I use the program) or the myriad other books on HDR photography. The author has a palpable enthusiasm for photography but I'm not sure what is offered in the book that hasn't already been published. There certainly are no "secrets".
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Debra Johnson on June 24, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a must for anyone who would love to do HDR.
It's been a great help to me, I have had a program for 12months
and thought I was doing HDR, till I read this book and started to play.
The secret is,not to be scared of experimenting with HDR, it's alot of fun.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Angela Andrieux on May 20, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book with beautiful, inspiring pictures and helpful info on how to take and make HDR images. The only reason that I deducted one star was because I was hoping for a bit more specific data on how to process HDR, such as for this type of shot take so many frames and then use these settings as a starting point. Photomatix is a great program but it overwhelms me. I guess no definitive starting place exists but it would be so much easier if it did!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Laurie Shupp on May 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
If you're looking for a book is filled with before and after images that is fun and easy to follow-along, then this is for you. Rick Sammon is an excellent instructor and is a very enthusiast and passionate photographer. It shows in his writing style and in his photography.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S. Bickel on September 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you want to just look at beautiful images, this is the book for you. However, if you want to learn the nitty-gritty of HDR, find another book. With that said, there were two things I liked about the book. The author said to make pictures, don't simply take pictures. The other was to experiment with the programmes. Great advice. Worthy of $19 plus shipping? I think not!

The most frustrating thing of all for me was the constant references to "stuff you will learn in this book" or "as you will learn while reading this book" or "you'll learn about this stuff soon" or "you'll find all the information you need to make nice HDR images in this book" or "more on than later too." This, for me, was the theme of this book. All I can say is don't hold your breath.

My favourite paragraph in the book was, "On the remaining pages in this chapter, I share several other examples of expanding the dynamic range of an image. Before and after examples are used. I did not include any chitchat on those pages because I want you to see the pictures as large as possible." Huh? Since no "chitchat" was included, you have no other option but to try to guess how he achieved those results. (Unfortunately, at that point, I threw the book across the room, so I can't return it due to damages it sustained on it's impact with the wall. I'll be donating it to my local library.)

In my opinion, the latter part of the book was the worst. Ads! Software and hardware ads. I don't see what the brand and model of the author's camera, lenses, tripod, computer, hard drive, and cards have to do with HDR.

This book is well named, because after reading it, HDR photography is still a secret.
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