Up for Discussion – HDR Photography
Love it, or hate it, it seems to be everywhere at the moment, and has been for the last couple of years. I did my first HDR image back in December 2011. I believe this was the first HDR image I put on the blog.
It would have been done with Photoshop, I didn’t get software for doing HDR until later. I look at it now, as I do most of my early attempts at HDR and just cringe. The colours are over saturated, they have a very surreal effect to them. I am not sure that it is what I was after at all.
These, as I said, HDR is everywhere, some are good, some are bad. I’m not saying which, but I thought we could talk about it here.
So what is HDR?
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. The idea of it, well my understanding, is that it will take the bright areas of an image and the dark areas and make an image that looks more like what we see with our eyes. If you have an image, that has a very bright sky in it, behind a building or something like that, and when you take the photo the sky just takes over and everything else, like the building end up black, or a silhouette the an image like that is perfect for HDR. You would take a series of bracketed images, so all taken at different exposures. Then software like Photomatix Pro would take all those images, and make the best possible image. I don’t know how it does it, but the dark areas will have detail and the light areas won’t be so blown out.
Let me show you in pictures.
This is the main dining hall at Montsalvat. It is a very dark room. You can see that looking at it now you can see what is out the window, but you can’t see what is inside.
This is the last photo of the bracketed shots, you can see a lot more detail inside the image now, but everything out the window is all blown out.
This is what the HDR software did to the images. You can see both inside and out now.
When I first started doing HDR, I would make every image one. I don’t do it anymore, and actually hardly seem to do it much now. I find myself using single images, or if I do do a HDR I will only use part of the image.
When I look at images these days, I can nearly always tell if they are HDR, there are little things that give them away. There is often a grayness to them, I’m told by Victor that is a lack of contrast. There are often Halos, though halos can come from other things, but most often it is with HDR.
Victor Rakmil has written a post just recently on HDR Photography which you might like too. He goes into the technical aspects of it more than me and gives more detail about what HDR is.
We were discussing it the other day, and something came up that I think is very true. We think processes first and subject second, rather than trying to work out what is the best way to process an image to show the subject as its best. It is something we can get bogged down with. Rather than looking at a subject and asking if it would be better as a HDR, it is easier to just do it, regardless, which is where I used to be. Now days, I’m more likely to still do the HDR, but then I compare it with just one image that I think is exposed correctly and ask myself which I think is better. Often the HDR image is deleted. The subject in the image always has to come first and then what is the best way to process it so the subject looks its best.
I’m coming down with a cold, so my brain is a bit scattered and I hope you can understand this post. I just wanted to give you my views on HDR and explain it a bit better for people who don’t understand what it is.
Do you do HDR images? What software do you use? Do you do it for every image? If you don’t do HDR then why? Do you do HDR and then combine it with other images?
These posts are a great way to share knowledge, so please contribute.
I will approve them, as long as they are nice and not nasty in any way. I am travelling home today, so I won’t be able to respond today, but I will try and get to them when I get home. I will approve them from my phone.
Feel free to respond or reply to other comments. It would be good to generate some discussion.