Much is being written about, discussed, debated and often berated on the topic of HDR, or to expand the three letter acronym – High Dynamic Range photography.
Many cameras are now appearing on the market that offer HDR in camera – even the iPhone has been offering this for some time now. But what is it?
Digital cameras are able to capture (and therefore record) a certain range of light values/tones, but they can’t catch them all – we’ve all suffered the over bright sky and correctly exposed subject or correctly exposed sky and dark subject – our eyes cope just fine. HDR overcomes the limitation by combining a number of exposures (could be 2, could be 3, 4, 5 or more) that capture the same image but at different exposures. For years photographers have used exposure bracketing to ensure they get the shot they want, but software now allows us to combine the best bits of each of the images to create one image with a higher dynamic range.
But what if your camera doesn’t offer this facility? All is not lost, there are many software tools out there that will allow you to combine the images and “play around” to achieve the look you’re after – but a word of caution, it’s very easy to overdo it and end up with an image that looks very unnatural – unless that’s what you’re shooting for!