Shoot HDR without auto bracketing

For those of you wondering manually bracketing is a feature on many SLR’s and point- and – shoot camera were it takes multiple pictures  in different exposures to turn the into HDR (High Dynamic Range) If you want a in depth tutorial on HDR you can find one here

I had the same problem, I shoot with an Nikon D3000, which does not have auto bracketing and I had a hard time finding a tutorial out there explaining how to take it manually, and i found two ways.

Method 1

1. Set your camera on your tripod, obviously pointing at the direction of the subject.  make sure you put the camera exactly where you intend to shoot before you actually take the photos. (Please note at this point my camera is set to capture fine Jpegs)

2. Set the dial on your D3000 to the “A” setting.  This is Aperture Priority.  It will allow you to set the aperture, and let the camera take care of everything else.  For more on aperture, click here.  After you set the aperture using the thumb dial, take a few test photos to make sure you got the setting right, and the lighting looks good.

3. Next, locate the exposure compensation button.  It is towards the front of the camera, and has a “+/-” on it.  Alright!  Now you are ready to shoot.

4. Make sure the exposure compensation is registered at 0.0, and snap your first shot.  Then, hold down the exposure compensation button, and increase the comp using the thumb dial.  Increase it to 2.0, and snap your second shot.  Then hold down that exposure compensation button and use the thumb dial to set the exposure to -2.0 and snap your third shot.  If you are only using 3 photos to combine to HDR, you’re good to go!  Otherwise, you can continue snapping away using different exposures for later creation of HDR.  Me myself, I like to start off with three.

5. Take your three images, and use either Photoshop of Photomatrix to combine your images into an HDR masterpiece.  There are many tutorials out there on his process.

Method 2

1. With this method, set your Nikon D3000 on the tripod.  This time, set your D3000 to capture in RAW format.  This will allow you to later use the in-camera editing feature.

2. Point and shoot at your intended subject.  With this method, you can shoot in any mode you want – manual, auto… it makes no difference.  Just point and shoot away!  You will still need to capture three images though.  So, shoot three pics!

3. Once three pictures have been taken, hit the “play” button on the back of the camera.  Leave the first picture you took alone.  Advance to the second picture, and hit the “ok” button.  This will bring up a menu, and you need to select the NEF raw editing feature.

4.  From there, change the exposure on the second photo to 2.0.   Save it by choosing the ‘EXE” option.  Change the exposure on the third picture to -2.0.  Save it.   Now when you transfer these to your computer, you will have three images – one with 0.0 exposure, one with 2.0, and one with -2.0.

5. Again, you can use those three photos in the application of your choice to be combines into an HDR image.   I have played with both Photomatrix and Photoshop, and both are pretty useful. You can check other blogs out there for ongoing flame wars on the subject.


          The AF-S on the lens tells you what kind of focus the camera has, there are two types. AF and AF-S.  What is the difference between and AF-S and AF lens? and how do i know which my lens is? Well first, look at the front of your lens or continue reading to find out if the model you have has a build in auto focus (AF) or if you have to do it manually (AF-S)
          Nikon offers two types of auto focus digital cameras bodies : those with auto focus drive monitor and those with the motor in the lens. D5100, D5000,  D3100,  D3000,  D60 and the D40 do not have a focus monitor in them but they require the lens to have a focus monitor. With an AF lens you would have to manually turn the focus ring
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