What is the HDR setting on an iPhone camera?

Learn more about high dynamic range (HDR) in photography and how and when to capture HDR photos with your iPhone.

If you want detailed, balanced photos, your iPhone’s HDR settings help you capture those light and dark elements that make up an incredible shot. Before we dive into what HDR means for your iPhone, let’s first get a better understanding of what HDR is and what it meant for traditional cameras.

What are HDR settings on an iPhone?

HDR is short for high dynamic range, and it refers to the range of light and dark within a photo.

Historically, HDR photography was a manual technique used to capture images with a wide range of tones. You’d take the same picture with three different exposure values — bright, medium, and dark — then combine these photos with editing software to showcase the best details of each shot.

With an iPhone, though, the device does the work for you. Whenever you snap a picture with your iPhone, it automatically creates a single photo for you with a high dynamic range.

When to use the HDR setting on your iPhone.

As a general rule, anytime a photo feels too bright or too dark, switch on the HDR setting on your iPhone. Since HDR works to give you the best of light and dark, it’s great to have the setting on when capturing landscape photos.

If you want to capture something in motion, turn off HDR to prevent dark or washed-out areas. If you want to take a portrait with dark and intense shadows, consider turning off HDR; otherwise, you may capture details within the shadow.

As with any photography technique, playing around with the HDR setting will give you a better idea of when and when not to use it for the best effect. Learn more photo tips now that might help you as you experiment with HDR. Then, explore everything you can do with Adobe Lightroom to up your photo editing skills.