Understanding Multi-Exposure HDR

Multi-Exposure HDR

Capturing all the details in a scene, such as a complete dynamic range with a single exposure dynamic range, is one of the most difficult aspects of imaging technology. Most of you have probably at some point suffered with either the sky being overexposed or the field being underexposed.

It can be challenging to capture a scene with a nice exposure that includes both the sky and the subject. This challenge can be tackled by adjusting the exposure settings, either manually or with the assistance of an automatic setting, to achieve a balance between a bright sky and an underexposed subject.

In order that camera manufacturers have created techniques such as High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging and multi-exposure (exposure bracketing), which allow for a greater dynamic range in a single image.

Therefore, let’s focus on multi-exposure HDR to learn more about how to get a detailed, exposed, and contrasted image for enhanced sights.

What is Multi-Exposure HDR?

Only a specific range of brightness allows for discrimination in images taken by cameras. Everything seems to be pure white in the brighter sections and pure black in the darker areas outside of this spectrum, making no details discernible. The dynamic range of a picture is defined as the ratio of the tonal value’s maximum and minimum. A picture with a higher dynamic range (HDR) than that feasible with a single exposure is produced by combining many discrete, narrower-range exposures. Many real-world sceneries with extremely brilliant, direct sunshine to severe gloom or very faint nebulae may be captured using HDR.

The method of creating HDR photographs from numerous exposures can also be referred to as “HDR” in some cases or multi-exposure HDR. Many smartphones come with an HDR function that automates the process of taking photos. To acquire all the contrasts and shadows in a picture, numerous images of different exposures must be captured and combined in order to obtain this high level of detail.

The expanded brightness range of the input HDR photos must be reduced in order to be made apparent because of the restrictions of printing and display contrast. Tone mapping is a technique for displaying a picture with HDR on a regular monitor or printing equipment. This technique lessens an HDR image’s overall contrast to enable viewing on screens or printing with a smaller dynamic range. It may be used to create pictures with local contrast that is kept or increased for aesthetic purposes.

Benefits of Multi-Exposure HDR

One goal of HDR is to display a brightness range that is comparable to what the human visual system can see. The human eye adapts continuously to a wide range of brightness present in the surroundings through non-linear response, iris adaptation, and other mechanisms. A viewer can see in a variety of lighting settings because of the brain’s ongoing interpretation of this information.

Due to their short dynamic range, most cameras are unable to produce this range of exposure values in a single exposure. Differentiation is only possible using conventional photography and image processing techniques within a limited brightness range. No details are discernible outside this range since there is no differentiation in bright areas, where everything appears to be pure white, and in darker areas, where everything seems pure black. Low dynamic range (LDR) or non-HDR cameras capture images with a constrained exposure range that obliterates information in highlights or shadows.

Multi-exposure in addition to being employed in photography, HDR is also used in high dynamic range tasks like welding or vehicle repair. Wide dynamic range is the phrase used in place of HDR in security cameras.

The requirement for multi-exposure HDR is typically reduced by the great dynamic range that modern CMOS picture sensors can frequently capture from a single exposure. Multiple film layers make up color film negatives and slides, and each layer reacts to light differently.

How can multiple exposures be used in photography?

Think of double exposure, Double exposure is an artistic technique that involves combining two or more exposures to create a single image, while creating double-exposure portraits, action scenes, soft flower macros, and ethereal landscapes, to name a few.

HDR Bracketing within Camera

An integrated feature called HDR Bracketing is found in many latest cameras. The number of photos you wish to mix and the number of stops between each image are customizable with this function.

After taking the series of pictures, the camera will automatically combine them to produce an image that is properly illuminated, with a clear foreground and sky.

This is the simplest method for capturing the entire dynamic range, but it also produces terrible results. A typical outcome will have a lot of noise and washed-out/fake colors because the camera calculates the value for each pixel. Additionally, it could appear over-sharpened and harsh.

Automatic Bracketing

The semi-automatic bracketing feature of the camera is the most popular way to take multiple photos.

Based on the values that you have selected; this function modifies the exposure settings for a group of images. Consider setting the values to be a series of 5 frames with a 0.5 stop difference.

The camera will then capture three images: one that is correctly exposed (with the current settings), one that is 0.5 stops underexposed, and one that is 0.5 stop overexposed. The number of photos that should be captured and the interval between them should have a specified number of stops difference.

Which is Superior – HDR or Multi-Exposure HDR

Contrary to popular belief, HDR and multi-exposure HDR are not mutually exclusive ideas. Therefore, one must be superior to the other. While many people may assume that HDR is the superior of the two options, multi-exposure HDR can actually provide more realistic results due to its ability to capture a wider range of tones and textures.

In reality, tone mapping is what we typically refer to as HDR blending. In photography, HDR is achieved using both tone mapping and multiple exposures. The actual comparison, therefore, takes place between them.

Final Words

Modern cameras have dramatically improved their Dynamic Range capabilities, and while you can recover a lot of details by merely changing the Exposure Slider, it’s still far from ideal. Many instances have a dynamic range that is simply too large. In those circumstances, taking many exposures and combining them in post-processing is the recommended course of action. The results are spectacular, but it takes a little more effort both in the field and during post-processing. It allows both deep shadows and dazzling highlights can be captured with precision.

This is a method that photographers frequently employ to solve exposure problems.

If you wish to modify your project with the customized HDR camera using exposure bracketing or multiple exposures, we (Vadzo) can assist you with the camera solution.

Few Examples of Vadzo HDR Cameras –

AR0233 HDR USB3.0 Camera 

AR0821 HDR USB3.0 Camera


If you have a query, feel free to Contact Us