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Exposure Blending Tutorial

After posting Getting the Exposure Right, I received a quite a few questions about how I achieved the HDR (High Dynamic Range) version of the mailbox photo (last photo in that article). This tutorial will walk you through the basics of creating the same look by hand. All you need is camera and photo editing software that supports layer masking (you can follow these steps in Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, and The GIMP, among others).

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Paint.NET 3 is a free “Photoshop Lite”

Paint.NET (version 3.05, Windows only, released March 29th 2007) is shaping up to be a great photo editing application. Version 3 is available in eight languages and has a slew of great features including: layers, tabbed interface, shape drawing tools, gradient tools, magic wand, clone stamp, blurring, sharpening, effects, brightness, contrast, curves, levels, and a lot more.

Paint.NET 3.05

The Paint.NET guys modestly call this a replacement for MS Paint. This baby blew MS Paint out of the water about two major versions ago. One of the best features is that it is free and open source and being actively worked on by a dedicated team.

If you’re in the market for a photo editing application you could do a lot worse than try Paint.NET.

Vertical Viewpoints

Sadly, many photographers take only horizontal pictures. They always lift their cameras and shoot. Their pictures are all landscape views, pictures that are wider than they are tall.

These photographers are missing some great opportunities.

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Getting the exposure right

One of the most common problems people have when taking photos is that part of the photo (usually the part that they want to see) is too dark or too bright. For example, when taking a photograph of a friend in front of the sunset, the sunset will show perfectly but the friend is a dark, unrecognizable blob. The problem is that the range of brightness in the scene is too much for your camera to record. So it has to “decide” which parts of the photo it wants to keep (the sunset, in this case) and which parts aren’t as important. And it often gets it wrong.

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