What is HDR photography?
HDR stands for high dynamic range, and these types of images display more exposure levels than cameras can typically capture with one shot.
If you take a picture of a sunset and let the camera decide on the exposure, the foreground of the image will likely be too dark to make out. If you expose on a person in the foreground, the sky will be too bright and washed out. An HDR image of that same scene preserves both the details of the sunset and the foreground.
Why are HDR photos necessary?
Certain types of scenes require HDR image capture and HDR image editing to appear in a photo the way they do to the naked eye. Cameras capture less tonal range or different exposure levels than we can see, so working with HDR is a great way to expand what we can create.
“The human eye has about 30 stops of dynamic range it can process, while your top cameras nowadays have only anywhere between 12 and 15,” explains photographer Lukas Kosslow. While the human eye can look at a scene and adjust very quickly as it looks into the shadows and brighter areas of that dynamic range, that adjustment is not something cameras can do.