How many photos are required to process a good quality HDR Pro merge?
I usually shot 5 frames with a 2 stop difference for my traditional HDRs but with the HDR Pro feature in photoshop, that has changed. This is a chart that I acquired from Adobe and simplifies everything for us.
|Camera Bracket settings||Optimum number of exposures for merging photos to HDR|
|-1.5 to +1.5||2|
|-3.0 to +3.0||3|
|-4.5 to +4.5||4|
|-6.0 to +6.0||5|
If your HDR bracketing is less than 3.0 stops in total separation (-1.5, 0, +1.5), use only the darkest and brightest exposures to generate an HDR. Capturing the middle exposure, or zero exposure, is not necessary for generating a quality exposure blend in such cases. If you exceed the 3-stop separation between the darkest and the brightest exposures, an additional exposure offset becomes necessary to process a good quality HDR photo.
If you are a 5 shot ± 4.0 stop shooter, you can now drop from 5 shots to 4 shots for merging and processing HDR. However, if you are a 7 shot ± 6.0 stop shooter, you can now get the optimal HDR blend with only 5 shots (-6.0, –3.0, 0, 3.0, 6.0) provided your camera has three-stop stepping in the exposure bracketing function.
The exposure differences between the photos should be one or two EV (exposure value) steps apart (equivalent to about one or two f‑stops apart).