Take a Nice HDR-Image of Your Christmas Tree

Introduction: Take a Nice HDR-Image of Your Christmas Tree


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


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!

Step 2: Shooting the Pictures

Now the work begins ;)

You have to shoot about 5 pictures.

The first one should be a well exposed picture.
Then shoot two darker and two lighter pictures.

If your are lazy, just shoot one underexposed and one overexposed picture.

You can take the series of pictures i shot as an example.

Keep in mind:
The shape of the tree and the background should be visible on the images at all times!
I attached two bad pictures for you.

Now upload the images to your computer and install Photomatix Pro.
I don't descirbe the installation progress, but I'm sure you can handle it on your own ;-)

Step 3: Creating the HDR-Picture With Photomatix

Point your mouse at the images above and follow the instructions!

Sorry if some boxes are not on their correct position, it's not my fault...

Step 4: The End

OK, that not an HDR-Image, but a nice shot too.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I hope you enjoyed my Instructable and i would be happy for a comment.

Grammatic and spelling corrections are also welcome. ;-)

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