HDRI Handbook 2.0 by Christian Bloch

Almost 700 pages plus a DVD of bonus goodies

Just about any current book on photography will have a chapter, maybe two on HDR or HDRI photography. It’s the hot topic and most of today’s photography forums feature photographers who have been able to master it. Is it rocket science – no; but, there is some science behind it.

Christian Block, in his revised 2nd edition of The HDRI Handbook 2.0, goes into that science in more depth than most, with the idea that if you understand what’s happening behind the curtain, you’re liable to be able to do more with the process.

Full chapters are dedicated to HDR subjects such as:

  • Selection of HDR software
  • Capturing the image
  • Tonemapping
  • Image editing
  • Panoramic HDR
  • 3D Rendering

While this book has more science to it than most I’ve seen, the author keeps those sections light enough with great examples, illustrations, and crossword puzzles. Each chapter also has interviews with some of the leading proponents of HDR and beautifully done samples of their work.

Chapter two does the absolute best review of all the HDR processing programs on the market along with all sorts of plug-ins, apps and compositing programs. Each is rated and pros/cons are described for each.  One inexpensive piece of software mentioned on page 76 has revolutionized the way I preview RAW files.  I also learned on page 114 that Lightroom is trashing some of the shadows and highlights when it’s passing off the files to plug-in apps.  There’s a way to simply avoid that and it’s detailed as well.

In chapter three there’s a discussion (first I’ve seen) about why shooting JPEG’s for HDR is better than RAW files.  Heresy? I know.  But the author makes a good case for the situations where this makes a lot of sense.

In addition to the wealth of knowledge in the book, you also get a companion DVD with samples used in the book, so you can work along, sample copies of programs to try and all sorts of other misc. goodies

It doesn’t take long to realize this book is giving you information I’ve never found anywhere else. It’s not a pocket book you’ll carry around by a long shot (650+ pages) but it’s a bible you can return to again and again for specific help as you need it.

Look for it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble in hardcover or eReader formats.

You might also like to read my review of other Rocky Nook Books:
The Art of Photography – an approach to personal expression
Serial Photography – using themed images to improve your photographic skills
The Wild Side of Photography – unconventional and creative techniques for the courageous photographer
Wildlife Photography – on safari with your DSLR: equipment, techniques, workflow
Why Photographs Work – 52 Great images: who made them, what makes them special and why
Gimp 2.6 for photographers – image editing with open source software
Architectural Photography, 2nd Edition
The Nikon Creative Lighting System – 2nd Edition
Photoshop CS6 Unlocked
Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 4 



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