“In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes
more real than reality.” Alfred Stieglitz
New improvements in the dynamic range of professional cameras, along with highly complex processing techniques, have allowed High Dynamic Range images to enter a new area of realism. Especially for interior shots this new capability allows results at the level of what you might expect in the pages of Architectural Digest to be obtained using only natural light! Below is a gallery that shows three versions of a bedroom image. The standard shot looks OK. The second shot is obtained using four bracketed images and processing in Photoshop CC2015 using HDRPro. Then further adjustments to the resulting image were made in Photoshop. Its better but still has problems that are obvious to pros. The third shot was created with seven bracketed shots and the use of proprietary techniques that refine HDR to a new, almost unbelievable level of realism. This technique allows wonderful color and tonal balance and a consistency between images that is unparalleled. I am excited to offer this new technique to my customers at only a slightly increased rate!
Still, bracketing photos for high dynamic range processing has limitations. There is another new technique that is most applicable to exterior architectural imaging during the “Golden Hour.” Instead of changing the exposure several times and combining whole images, this technique composites small portions of many images, each of which focuses on one small part of the subject where the photographer manually added specific lighting for increased depth and texture using a flash with a radio link to the camera. The image below is made up of 28 different portions combined into the final photograph. The result is something the mind accepts as real, but it is beyond real. Subjects in the picture seem to glow with a light from nowhere!
Where a normal high dynamic range image might be shot in a few seconds, and completed in software in minutes, this style of hyper-realistic imaging typically requires an hour or so to capture all the images with the lighting needed, and then more hours using advanced techniques in high-end software to create the final result.
This gif animation reduces the quality.
Check the blog post to see a better example of the final image.