It’s very easy to lose extreme shadow or highlight detail when you’re shooting high-contrast scenes, and that’s one of the reasons for shooting raw files – they contain additional highlight detail, especially, that you may be able to bring out during processing. Shadow and highlight recovery is not always possible, but I usually reckon that […]
Shadow recovery is a very useful technique for backlit photos or images shot in high contrast lighting. Digital cameras are not very tolerant of overexposure, so it's often necessary to expose for the brightest parts of the scene and then enhance the shadows in post processing.
This is another reason for shooting RAW files rather than JPEGs. RAW files typically have a lot more latent shadow detail that you can bring out with careful processing. This can reveal more noise in these darker areas, but this varies from one camera to another – and you can process this out to some degree with some selective noise reduction.
So how much shadow detail can you recover? Generally, the bigger the sensor, the better the dynamic range, but it's typically a lot more than you might expect – perhaps as much as 3-4EV in exposure terms.
The real challenge is to keep the image and the lighting looking 'natural'. It's all too easy to end up with a pseudo-HDR effect or compressed midtone contrast that makes the whole image look 'flat'.
HDR (high dynamic range techniques) are sometimes necessary to cope with scenes that have a higher dynamic range than the camera’s sensor can cope with. But that’s happening less and less as sensor technology improves. The latest D-SLR sensors don’t just have increased dynamic range, they’re able to capture shadow detail with less noise than […]
Capture One Pro 7 is not just an excellent RAW converter. Like Adobe Lightroom it has some quite sophisticated adjustment controls. In particular, the Capture One High Dynamic Range sliders are very good at extracting the maximum latent highlight and shadow detail in RAW files. This is not HDR in the usual sense, where you […]