How-to: DRI as an Alternative to HDR

Wilhelmsturm in Dillenburg at Night

It time for a new shot from my home town Dillenburg. This time at night and in DRI. The procedure is pretty similar to HDR, but generates more natural results.

DRI stands for Dynamic Range Increased. Based on my investigation, there is no real established “definition” for this method, but it is used in similar fashion multiple exposures of a scene to increase the visible color dynamic. I show you here my procedure and my experience with that.

1. I take three exposures +2EV, 0 EV, -2EV
2. I stack them in layers in photoshop in 16bit
(3. I automatic align the photos, if I shot the photos hand held. )
4. I double check the automatic alignment on 100% view and manually adjust it with the v key (happens very often. Don’t know why).
5. make a smart object out of the three layers
6. change the stack mode to mean

The result is a 16 bit photo that looks similar to the 0EV photo, but contains more color shade information. Usually it is also a bit flat. Now you can continue with your normal tone mapping (increase Contrast and shadows and highlights is highly recommended). You can also use plugins like photomatic or topaz adjust.

Advantages of this procedure is.
– The result doesn’t contain so much noise like produced by HDR
– The result looks more normal and realistic than typical HDRs
– It is great for night shots, because it works smooth in shadows and dark skies
– You have the blending of the shots much better under control, because you do it manually
– And you can combine it with best HDR shot get the best out of both worlds

enclosed you see my initial shots. It is fascinating how much more information you can get out of picture.
Hope this inspire your work process

All the best


P.S.: One related post:

shot at +2EV

shot at -2EV

Shot at 0EV