Instructables
Hello,

in this Instructable I want to show you how to make a nice-looking HDR picture of your Christmas Tree.

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range.
We are basically taking a series of dark and light pictures and making one picture with a higher contrast of it.
Learn more about HDR-Photography!

First of all: Sorry for my english, because my native language is german.

Here is what you'll need:

A digital Camera
I'm using a Canon EOS 1000D, but most of cheaper cameras will work fine too.

A Tripod
You'll need a tripod because we are taking a series of 5 Pictures from the same perspective and with exposure-times above 1 second.
If you dont have a tripod: Use a stool or a table.
Shooting the pictures with your bare hands won't give you useful results.

Photomatix Pro
You can download the software here.
Don't worry, you can use the software in trial mode for free.
("When used in trial mode, Photomatix Pro is fully functional and never expires, but adds a watermark to images produced with one of the two Tone Mapping methods and 3 of the 5 exposure fusion modes.")
 
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Step 1: Preparing

Picture of Preparing
Preparing

First of all, turn on the lights of your christmas tree and dimm the ceiling lights if possible.
You should shoot the pictures in the evening with a romantic light mood.

Camera Settings
Your camera must have the capability to let you manually set the exposure-level.

Maybe you have to digg around in it's menu a little bit to find a way to set the exposure level.
Often it's called AEB like in the image above.

Most cameras have a manual mode or an exposure mode.
If you can manually set the ISO-sensitivity, select a low one like 400.
Important: Turn the flashlight off!

If you can't find the discribed settings, just try to google for "Camera-name HDR" or "Camera-name exposure settings"

If you got a Canon EOS like me, just select the "M"anual mode on the mode-wheel.
Then set a low ISO like 400 (for noise-reduction purposes) and a f-stop about 10.

The camera mount
Now fix your camera on a tripod.
A table or a stool will work too, but mark the exact position of the camera with a piece of tape.

The pictures have to image your tree in the same perspective as exactly as possible.
Dont worry, the software will correct small deviations.

Your camera will probably need a few seconds to shoot the overexposed images, so holding the camera in your hands won't work.  (The images would turn out blurry.)

If your camera have a trigger-delay-timer, set it to a few seconds.
(This avoids shaking the camera while pressing the trigger.)

Now we are ready to shoot the images!