Dynamic Range in Photography

When you are photographing in broad day light, mostly you are going to get a photograph which is too burnt out in sky area or too dark in shadows. You will observe that no matter how you set the exposure, you are losing details in some or the other parts of your image. That is the problem statement when talking about Dynamic Range.

Over Exposure
Over Exposure
Under Exposure
Under Exposure

Wait, this is not problem on your Manual Mode, but it is likely due to the limitation of Dynamic Range of your camera. In simpler terms, the range covers the brightest and the darkest parts of the image. Every sensor has its own capacity of showing this range through image. More the range, better is the photograph and it looks more lifelike.

Normally, the rule that is widely accepted is to expose for the highlights, which is to set the exposure in such a way that you will not lose details from the highlights. A photograph with burnt out highlights looks terrible, but the shadows without details is not that a big problem.

There are ways in which you can overcome the Dynamic Range problem.

Use a fill flash – If the scene that you are shooting is small enough and a flash light can be used to fill in the shadows then go for a small pocket friendly flash like Digitek Speedlite DFL-077 Flash

When the scenes are bigger and the flash is of no use then the better way is to use Graduated ND Filter. These filters come in variety of strengths & help reduce the exposure from the brighter sky.

Alternatively, there is a Circular Graduated ND filter which can be rotated to produce different strengths.

Note: If you are going for any type of lens filter, please know your lens’ diameter and buy a filter that fits. In case a lens filter is not available for your lens’ diameter, then you can consider buying a Step Down Ring Set.

The best way to mitigate the problem of Dynamic Range is to use a technique called as HDR Photography or High Dynamic Range Photography. In this technique stabilizing your camera on tripod is must and multiple photographs of the same subject are clicked at different exposure settings preferably 1 stop apart. Make the exposure change by the use of Shutter Speed as change in Aperture varies the Depth of Field. These photographs can then be processed and merged using dedicated HDR software or Photoshop.

Single Exposure
Single Exposure

For more such Photo Productive blogs visit PhotoHelp.

SHOPEE Anodized Metal Step Down Ring Set
Graduated ND Filter
Circular Graduated ND Filter
Digitek Speedlite DFL-077 Flash


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Angad Joshi

Angad Joshi

Angad Joshi is a freelance professional photographer. He runs photography studios by the brand name TimeFrame Studios in Pune and Dombivli. He indulges in Food, Fashion, Product and Wedding Photography and has a team of his own. He loves conducting indoor and outdoor photography training programs and photography tours of various genres across India.

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