HDR, revisited


I was re-reading my post about HDR photography the other day and I have sort of changed my mind.  I was really into HDR post-processing methods around 2007, before it really took off.  It then became a fad and I sort of grew tired of it.

Today, there are two camps out there; those that love HDR and those that hate it.  I personally love it now, and that is where my opinion has changed from my last post.  The reason I love it is because I enjoy HDR for what it is.  It is another tool.  Another brush that allows me to create artistic images.

To those that don’t understand HDR, it is basically a post-processing technique that requires that you initially take 3 to 5 shots of the exact same scene at 3 to 5 different exposure levels.  You under-expose the scene and then over-expose it.  You then overlay all of the images on top of each other and use the best tones in order to create a photo that tries to replicate more dynamic range, closer to what the eye would see if the viewer was there.  The criticisms seem to stem from the fact that many photographers over do it and create almost video game-like images.

Here is the same scene taken as a snapshot…



I was reading an article by Scott Kelby and he said it best.  The dirty little secret is that non-photographers love these images.  I bet 99% of non-photographers will love the first image in this blog post and think the 2nd image is just ok.  I would agree.

HDR does not replace traditional means of photography.  I shoot weddings.  I love natural light.  I love sunsets.  That does not mean I cannot appreciate another artistic medium.  An artist may use pencil 90% of the time.  But, is it wrong to explore painting abstract with oils to add a unique feel to a landscape?  I don’t think so.

So, I am back to loving HDR again.  I may even try a few shots at my next wedding.


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