Friday, January 7, 2011

REVIEW: A World in HDR by Trey Ratcliff


I’m a big fan of Trey Ratcliff’s, so I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I’ve been so busy over the year that I didn’t get a chance to read his book until now. I’m glad I found time over the holidays as I really enjoyed the beautiful job the publisher did with the images in this book – the printing is outstanding.

This book is organized into the following chapters:

  1. Welcome to the World of HDR – This short chapter is a high-level overview of HDR and why Trey uses this technique.
  2. Photography Evolves – After a short intro this is first of several chapters that have a nice collection of photos where Trey shares his thoughts and notes about the photo. Some are more technical discussions than others, but it’s all pretty lightweight and enjoyable reading.
  3. Q&Q vs Q&A – After a short philosophical beginning, Trey goes through another stack of great photos with lots of wonderful stories in this chapter.
  4. The Perspective of Light – Once again, a short intro followed by some fantastic images that demonstrate various perspectives of light. It’s quite enjoyable to see how Trey adds to what’s already there to create even more energy in some of his shots – fun stuff!
  5. The HDR Tutorial – This is an abbreviated step-by-step version of his online HDR Tutorial. While both are interesting from a  high level, I found that Trey’s HDR Workshop DVD is the only place where he goes into enough detail that I was able to transfer some of his techniques into my workflow. After watching his DVD, the tutorial in this book acts as a great guide to jog your memory on a few things too.
  6. Software and Tools – Here Trey lists out the products he uses along with a little blurb about each. For those who are interested, here’s what he uses:
    1. Lightroom
    2. Photomatix
    3. Photoshop
    4. Noiseware
    5. Topaz Adjust
    6. Nik Software
    7. Lucis Pro
    8. Genuine Fractals (now called Perfect Resize)
    9. Plug-in Suite (now called Perfect Photo Suite

You can see how Trey’s list compares to my What Plug-ins Should I Buy? list where these are all stack ranked against the others that I have reviewed.

It’s worth mentioning that most of the photos in the book have a caption which have details of how Trey captured the shot and in many cases the basics of how he processed the shot. If you’ve read Joe McNally's books, it should seem very familiar like how Joe explains how he did the lighting, but there’s no diagrams or detailed walkthroughs.


While I enjoyed the book, much like how I enjoyed Joe McNally’s Hot Shoe Diaries and The Moment It Clicks, like those books I found this one to be more entertaining and educational at a high-level rather than at a more nuts and bolts “how to, step-by-step” level that you would find in a Scott Kelby book. This can be a positive or a negative depending on what you are looking for.

If step-by-step is what you are looking for, then Trey’s HDR Workshop DVD is a much better investment as it goes into the nuts and bolts of showing you how he works his magic. If you are just looking to read a book that is more in a conversational tone that lets you peek into the head of this very creative photographer, then this gorgeous color image-filled book is the perfect choice. 

Special Offer

Check out the Discount Coupon Code page for discounts on Trey’s products!

Ordering Info

Available on Amazon: A World in HDRalt

Kindle Edition: A World in HDR (Kindle Edition)

Trey also has released a new iPhone app called 100 Cameras in 1 that I bought for my phone and have enjoyed quite a bit. Here’s a little shot I processed in my phone using this app with just one click:

100 Cameras in 1 does great post-processing in one click!
Copyright Ron Martinsen – All Rights Reserved

Click here to go to the App Store to learn more about it.


I was given a copy of this book to review by the publisher. I may get a commission if you purchase using the links provided. Thanks for supporting the blog by using these links!

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