Having recently joined a photography company I am sifting through archives on a daily basis. I have noticed the influx of HDR images.
High-dynamic-range imaging (HDRI or HDR) is a set of techniques used in imaging and photography to reproduce a greater dynamic range of luminosity than possible using standard digital imaging or photographic techniques.
HDR images can represent a greater range of luminance levels found in real-world scenes, from direct sunlight to faint nebula. It is often achieved by capturing and then combining different exposures of the same subject matter.
Below are some typical examples of HDR images:
Personally, i’m not a great fan of this post processing phenomenon. It has an almost comic book like feel, and just looks too fake. There seems to be a lot of debate as to whether HDR photography is a type of art – as it goes beyond re creating something that the eye naturally sees.
We need to bear in mind however, that the images I have used to demonstrate are heavily saturated and take HDR photography to the outer limits. They hardly retain any of the actual image colours, light levels, shadows and highlights.
When done subtly i really think HDR can work. These 2 pictures below have captured the subject as you would imagine seeing it with the human eye, only it has been tweaked here and there to create an all round aesthetically pleasing image. It is a great tool for advertising companies.
HDR photography is something that I want to experiment with, especially with city landscapes. I will not be using such levels as shown in the first 3 pictures, but try to find a subtle balance more like the pictures above.
Some DSLRs come with a HDR function (the camera creates this effect for you) but it can be done manually by taking the exact same shot with different exposures.