The following is an excerpt from our HDR Tutorial by SLR Lounge. This workshop dubbed “the gold standard of HDR education” by FStoppers contains over 13 hours of tutorials, RAW files for you to follow along, and dozens of full prep to post examples. We cover bracketed HDR, in-camera HDR, single-shot faux HDR, single-shot bracketed HDR, panoramic HDR and more! Click here for more info.

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Master Your Style First

The majority of you probably have not fully developed your overall HDR photography style yet. If you have not figured out what kind of camera settings you like to use, and what results you like to get, it is a little pointless to program your custom settings right now because your settings preferences will probably change as you experiment more with HDR photography.

However, most DSLRs do have custom modes that you can use to program specific camera settings. Once you have developed your own personal HDR photography style, dial in those custom settings into your camera.

For example, if my HDR photography style includes a 3 frame-2 stop bracketed sequence, spot metering mode with a 2 second timer and Mirror Lock-Up enabled, I can dial all of these settings into the “C1” or “U1” custom mode on my camera. Then, whenever I am ready to start shooting, I can simply switch to that custom mode on my camera and all of those settings will be automatically be set, ready to go.

Dialing in each of those settings once or twice may not take up too much of your time, but if you find yourself constantly needing to dial in the same settings over and over again, then input those settings as a custom mode. That way you can spend less time fumbling with your camera and more time shooting!

Conclusion & Learn More!

Once again, we recommend that you consider your own personal HDR photography style before dialing in custom settings, since your preferences and shooting style will change frequently as you experiment with HDR photography. What works well for us may not work the same for you!  So firstly take some time to experiment and develop your style, then take note of which camera settings you often use, or which in-camera tools you need quick access to, etc. Once you feel comfortable and established in your style, program those settings into your camera’s custom mode. Custom HDR settings are a big time saver, so make sure you take advantage of this feature on your camera! Since every camera is different, look through your camera’s manual to determine how to set up custom modes.

[FAQ: What is HDR Photography?]

For more HDR education, be sure to check out our HDR Tutorial by SLR Lounge. This comprehensive “gold standard” guide will give you a mastery of HDR photography, from the scene considerations to the actual shooting to the post production. Click here for more info.