What Is HDR Photography?

When we talk about high dynamic range (HDR) photography, we are referring to an advanced photo-editing technique that was first popularized in the early 2000s. Since then, it has become one of the most sought after photographic modes!

In HDR images, very bright or very dark areas of your photograph get adjusted so that they look more naturalistic. This is done by using different exposure settings, such as shutter speed and aperture, to produce brighter or darker parts of the image.

By doing this, the camera does not have to overexpose or underexpose the picture which would result in white or black spaces, respectively. Rather, it can create a tone map between those two states to achieve the best possible looking HDR image.

The final effect will depend heavily upon the individual person viewing the photograph as to what looks best. Some may like very smooth, seamless transitions while others might prefer hard edges and sharper lines. It is up to the viewer to apply the appropriate level of HDR photoshopping to enjoy the picture!

Editorial use of HDR photos is becoming increasingly common due to their versatility. Many companies now feature HDR as an option for pictures and videos that they publish. Technology has made it much easier to produce dramatic effects, which only adds to its appeal.

History of HDR

what is hdr photography

When using high dynamic range (HDR) photography, also known as exposure bracketing or photomontage, artists have been creating striking images for quite some time. Starting in the late 19th century with Edwin Land introducing his first form of this technique we now have another name for it-high dynamic range imaging!

In fact, there are theories that Thomas Edison may have experimented with this technique to create his famous moving pictures!

By capturing multiple exposures within your camera’s sensor, you can combine them into one longer exposure piece which contains all the shades and nuances of light in the scene. This way you get more detail displayed in every part of the image than would be possible normally.

This is why very close up shots look so good these days! Almost everyone has an advanced smartphone that allows for HD quality photos, and thus most people use those when taking closeup photos.

The other reason is that due to the large amount of digital information in the photo, it becomes easy to adjust the colors later. You could enhance certain parts of the photograph via software like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop.

However, what makes HDR art really stand out is its creator. People who specialize in making such photographs devote many hours to studying how light interacts with different materials and recording the data in their own creative style.

Equipment for HDR

what is hdr photography

When talking about HDR, there is an assumption that you will need to have some sort of high dynamic range (HDR) photography equipment. This usually includes a camera with very wide dynamic range or a software program that has you use your computer’s built-in camera to produce an HDR image.

The reason this assumption is made is because it is considered the standard way to do things. Most people are familiar with using either one so they may not know what the other looks like!

However, creating an HDR photo isn’t quite as complicated as many make it out to be. There are several ways to achieve an HDR effect outside of having expensive gear or needing advanced Photoshop skills.

This article will talk about five easy ways to create an HDR photo without owning any special equipment. These tips can all be done quickly even if you have little experience in taking photos.

Shooting tips for HDR

what is hdr photography

When it comes to shooting HDR, there are several different ways to do it! Some people prefer using very long exposure times to create their image while others use shorter exposures to achieve this effect.

There are many apps that can be used to produce an HDR image as well. Some have you upload one photo and then apply multiple layers of brightness to get the final result, whereas other software has you manually blend together each layer yourself.

Some go even further by offering modes such as tone mapping which allows you to choose your preferred color balance for the picture. This is particularly helpful if you don’t like how some of the colors look in the original photos!

What is HDR? High Dynamic Range photography is just plain putting more light into a space or area than normal. For example, taking a picture outside during daylight hours is already including enough light, but by adding in flash or using large aperture lenses (small f-number) you can include much more illumination.

That way, the shadows will also have enough contrast with the brighter parts of the shot! If you want more information about high dynamic range photography check out our article here.

Stuff related to this article: You may want to read another article in our photography category – “How To Use A DSLR For HDR Photos”. There you will learn all about creating natural looking HDR images using bracketed shots and software programs like Photoshop.

Edit your photos in HDR

 

Ahem, not so with HDR! The term “HDR” is short for high dynamic range photography. Technically speaking, that means creating exposures that are beyond what your camera can normally capture.

By taking several photographs of one scene at different exposure levels, you can combine all those images into one very rich picture containing details from both under-and over-exposed areas of the image.

However, doing this requires special equipment. Most cameras no longer have an easy way to do this automatically, which is why most people use software programs to achieve this effect later. (More about this in our article on how to edit RAW files.)

Photographers who want more advanced ways to create incredible pictures typically invest in expensive professional grade gear or find workable solutions by using free or low cost apps and plug-ins.

Create a panoramic photo in HDR

what is hdr photography

With high dynamic range (HDR) photography, we are given a new way to capture beautiful pictures. Dynamic range is the difference between the brightest and darkest areas of a photograph.

Most people know that digital cameras have limited dynamic range. This means that even bright light sources like suns can be overexposed or dark shadows cannot get enough exposure time to become visible.

By creating an HDR image, you can use a very low ISO (light sensitivity) camera setting along with faster shutter speeds to produce a more vibrant picture than using standard techniques.

There are two main types of HDR images. Camera RAW format files are typically converted into Photoshop or Lightroom by developers who call it Photoshopping. These are much easier to do as there are fewer steps involved.

The second type is exporting a long exposure image from your camera which requires special software.

Use HDR images for inspiration

what is hdr photography

Many professional photographers use HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography as an artistic tool to convey a message or motivate others.

Dynamic range is the difference in exposure between the brightest and darkest areas of a photo. For example, if you took a picture of the beach with very bright sunshine, some parts of the image would be completely white, and other parts would be totally black. The human eye can only perceive a very small part of the total dynamic range of light exposed photos have, so it was typically not visible.

With high dynamic range (HDR) photographs, that gap is increased so more of the image is seen. By doing this, the photographer has extended the visibility of the image. This extension is done through multiple exposures using different ISO settings and shutter speeds.

These new files are then combined into one large file to create your final product. Depending on the software used to combine them, variations occur in how well they work. Some require you to manually edit the pictures down before combining, while others apply automatic adjustments at the end.

There are many ways to use HDR artistry, but my favorite way to do it is creating silhouettes. When taking a normal photograph, there is a cutoff where everything becomes dark. With a silhouette, however, what goes up also comes down, making what’s under the cut-off become brighter than ever before!

I like to use this concept in nature.

Share your HDR photos

what is hdr photography

It’s an exciting new way to capture beautiful, vibrant images that use very high exposure settings. By using this technique, you can create more dramatic looking pictures than with standard photography.

HDR (high dynamic range) is a term used for creating artistic photographs by having several parts of the image exposed at different levels. For example, some areas of the picture may be fully in focus while others are out-of-focus or even totally blurred.

This creates an interesting effect where it looks like there’s a tonne of light filling the frame but there isn’t! The eye naturally blends all these shades together into one smooth tone. Artists have been doing this thing for ages, why not get into digital photo editing?

There are many ways to do this, but most require expensive software and technical knowledge.

More tips for HDR

what is hdr photography

Starting with strong lights is an important part of creating engaging photographs that use HDR technology. When doing so, be sure to mix up your light sources- sunsets, lightning flashes, natural sunlight, even reflected or backlit shadows!

Using multiple lights in various intensities can create some spectacular images. Unfortunately, most people do not know how to utilize this technique properly.

When editing an image that has HDR components, make certain to only apply one tone map (lens blur) filter at a time.

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Henry Brown

About the Author: Henry Brown

As a freelancer and writer, I’ve been fortunate to have worked on projects for a wide range of brands from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. Whether you need help with your social media, e-commerce, blog, or website content, I can help!

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