What is HDR Photography?

Let’s get technical…

HDR is a task done in post-processing by the use of a series of images, combining them and making adjustments to the contrast, brightness ratios.  HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and it’s exactly that! It attempts to extend the tone range of the image under normal conditions, altering the light until the shot is perfectly balanced. The end result is a picture with greater dynamic range of exposure.

Using HDR Photography the photographer has the ability to create images that wouldn’t be possible to take with one single aperture and shutter speed.

Most often the photographer will take an HDR photograph by taking, for example, three photos of one particular scene. The photos are different only in that they’re taken with different shutter speeds.  When viewing the image (as seen in the photos below) you’ll note that they’re of a bright, to medium, to dark photo quality, this is due to the light that filters through the lens.

Using software the Photographer combines the images and brings out details in the shadows and the highlights.  The idea is that you want to create an image that is as close to the human-eye’s ability to view that same image, as possible.  No longer will you say “You just had to be there, the photo doesn’t do it justice” instead you’ll say “Yes, that picture is just how it looked.”

Cameras are generally very limited when it comes to image detail as their sensor is exposed to light.  When you take a photo of a scene that has heavy shadowing and bright lighting you will be forced to lose a lot of detail.

HDR photos allow the photographer the ability to achieve detail in the shadows or the highlights.

SAMPLE_photography05The photographer will take a series of photos for each scene using a RAW format. The RAW format is a digital format that contains more exposure and detail than a regular JPEG image format.

You may have heard of the term bracketing, when talking about photos and their exposure.   HDR also uses bracketing but differently. Although HDR does not take multiple exposures to create the best image it takes, instead, the maximum detail throughout the range of lighting using tone mapping techniques.

The tone mapping translates the colour and the values and maps them into a medium and into one image file.

When the photographer takes the HDR images into Photoshop the software refers to the EXIF Data information. The EXIF info is found on each of the bracketed images, it helps to determine the aperture, ISO and shutter speed.  The software can then determine the amount of light that was found within each of the images.  The software uses 32 bits to detail each colour channel. The 32 bits allows the file to have a wider range of brightness, making it much more adjustable.

In the end an HDR quality image will be the best possible image. E-State uses only HDR images when taking photos, they’re policy is to take only the very best shot on the first go; lower quality images are never taken making sure their customers have a premium picture, bringing their property all its deserved attention.

See eState Productions HDR before and after samples. 

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