Saturday, July 16, 2016

The HDR question

There are people that love HDR, and there are people who hate HDR.

I guess I place myself somewhere in the middle but closer to the dislike camp. On first seeing HDR it can be quite seductive: bright colors, over-the-top detail, seeing into the shadows, no blown highlights... and an almost surreal vision. Of course, like many things, a little can go a long way but people into HDR tend to go a lot longer than needed. There are some famous photographers who have created a personal empire based on their talents with HDR.

Generally I stay away from multi-exposure HDR but Lightroom now has built-in capability so I though would give it a try. Certainly not a great example, but it is fun to try different approaches realizing it is only a diversion, not a direction.

Of course, strictly speaking, I actually use a bit of HDR in most of my images by manipulating highlight and shadows using controls and curves. But that can be done without the full HDR give-away look. It is also possible to use multi-exposures and masking to obtain HDR, and that can be done very successfully.


  1. I remember trying to increase the luminosity of my b&w pictures in my darkroom years ago. It was a great deal of work, and not always successful. Of course dodging and burning helped, but multiple negatives was also used. These days digital photography makes the process much easier. We all use one software package to bring up shadow detail or reduce highlights. Some camera will now do HDR images automatically. Amazing. I seldom do full HDR images. It is not an automatic function on my camera.

  2. Full on HDR does not impress me as much as selective highlight/shadow modification, that informs my viewers of what I truthfully saw as I released the shutter.

  3. I used to do similar in Photoshop, blending layers; however, of late, sensors have gotten better and better and I've not had the need to go beyond the sliders in Lightroom.