Taking a High Dynamic Range photo (HDR) on your Panasonic Lumix G2 is a simple process, it’s just a matter of knowing where the settings are, and a few best practice guidelines to follow to ensure you take a great photo. I am assuming you already know the concept behind HDR images, so I wont go into detail on what they are and what to do with them once you have them, this tutorial will just explain how to take the set of images at different exposures, what you do afterwards is up to you. If you would like a tutorial on what HDR images are and how to process them, please let me know in the comments below.
Firstly, flip the dial round on the top of the camera so that it is on the +/- option, this puts the G2 into ‘Auto Bracket’ mode, as in the image below.
Now, you will want to set how your camera takes HDR images, so press ‘Menu/Select’ on the back of the camera to go into the settings, and make sure you are in the ‘REC’ group, then go down to the 4th screen, where you will find ‘Auto Bracket’. Within this menu there are two main options, ‘Setup’ and ‘Sequence’. The first, ‘Setup’, sets how many photos are taken, and at what exposure levels they are taken. The numbers are displayed like 5-2/3, 7-2/3 etc. The first number is the amount of photos that will be taken, and the second part, the fraction, is the difference in exposure they will be to each other (in stops). In the screenshot below ‘Auto Bracket Options’ I have selected 5-2/3, this means that the camera will take 5 photos, each at 2/3′s of a stop apart on the exposure dial. If you were to select 7-2/3 then 7 photos would be taken, each at 2/3′s of a stop apart.
So, as in the example above, if we select the 5-2/3 option, you will end up with 5 photos:
- 1 at 1 and 1/3 under exposed
- 1 at 2/3′s under exposed (2/3′s up from the previous photo)
- 1 with normal exposure (again, 2/3′s up from the previous photo)
- 1 at 2/3′s over exposed (2/3′s up again)
- 1 at 1 and 1/3 over exposed (2/3′s up again)
This is handily displayed at the bottom of the menu, with the exposure scale. As you change the values in the ‘Setup’ menu you will notice that the numbers with arrows below the scale change, this is just a visual display of at what point on the scale the photos will be taken.
The numbers within these little pointers relate to the order in which they will be taken. So as displayed in the image to the left, the photos will be taken in ascending order from under exposed to over exposed. This order can be changed by selecting 0/-/+ in the ‘Sequence’ menu. This will then start the photo sequence by taking the first photo at 0 on the exposure scale, then moving down to under exposed and then to an over exposed, back down to under exposed and finishing on over exposed.
Once you have selected the options on how many and in what order you want to take your HDR images, now we can actually take the photo!
But first, a few words of advice.
1) Make sure the Aperture is set, either using manual mode or Aperture priority mode. Otherwise as you take your set of HDR photos the Aperture will change, so when you merge your photos together to create your final image the depth of field will probably be different in each photo, making for a weird photo. Putting the camera into Aperture priority mode will mean the shutter speed will adjust accordingly, which shouldn’t cause us issues.
2) Use a tripod. As you are taking several photos in a row, no matter how still you may stand, or how steady your hands may be, there is always room for camera shake, and as with the Aperture change above, when you merge these images together, the shake will spoil your image. (There is software out there that counteracts the movement between images, but its still best to use a tripod if possible)
3) Use a remote shutter. In order to take this sequence of photos you have to keep the shutter button held down, so again there is potential for camera shake, a remote shutter should help stop this.
So, you have your settings sorted, you are on a tripod with a remote shutter and your Aperture is set, we are now really ready to take the photo!
When your subject is all set & ready, hold down the shutter until all of the images are taken at the different exposure levels (the camera will stop taking the photos automatically). You will then have your set of HDR images ready to be merged!
As I say, I won’t go into detail on what to do with the images now, there are plenty of tutorials out there, but if you would like me to write one, please say so below!
Happy HDR taking!
Tags: cameras, exposure levels, exposures, g2, hdr images, HDR tutorial, high dynamic range, lumix, lumix dmc, panasonic, panasonic dmc, panasonic lumix, photos, range photo, setup menu, tutorial, tutorials