What is an HDR image?
Learn what HDR photography is and how you can use it to take breathtaking photos.
You’re watching a striking lighting storm, or hiking through a breathtaking forest, and you try to snap a photo to capture the moment. But instead of the brilliant light, color, and depth that your eyes see, your photo turns out flat and uninteresting. Sound familiar?
Well, with High Dynamic Range processing, or HDR, you can capture what your eyeballs are seeing. It takes a combination of camera capabilities, software expertise, and creative skill.
More about HDR.
The “dynamic range” part of HDR refers to the difference between the lightest light and the darkest dark. A “high dynamic range” photo is able to capture the full spectrum of tones, without washing out the lightest lights or over-saturating the darkest darks. The result is a crisp, detailed, and almost surreal photo that captures the moment.
How to take HDR images.
To achieve this effect, you’ll need to use post-processing software to blend together several photos taken at different exposure levels, capturing the full range in one image.
- Setup: Set your camera up in a single spot, and keep it completely still using a tripod or another kind of stabilizing device. The key is to take the exact same photo several times, with only the exposure changing.
- Content: HDR photos don’t work for moving objects, since you need to use multiple shots of the exact same setup. Use this technique for still compositions — static landscapes or still life shots, for example.
- Camera: Look for a camera with an Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) function that will change exposure settings between shots so that you don’t have to manually adjust and risk changing the position of your photos.
It’s all in the edit.
Use a photo editing software to blend together your HDR photo series and create a custom, mind-blowing image. Explore how you can do this with Adobe Lightroom, and learn more pro photography tips for making your photos even more impressive.