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High Dynamic Range Photos: What are They and When Should They be Used?

Whether you run a professional photo editing service or are just an amateur photographer you’ve probably heard about high dynamic range (HDR) pictures. Actually, this kind of photo editing practice has been around for a long time in the world of photography, but with the advent of technological advancements (and inclusion on many smartphone devices) it’s seen a resurgence in recent years.

HDR is a form of photo editing that involves taking three pictures at different levels of light exposure. Photography editing services then take those three different images and combine them using the best parts of light/dark exposure from each one to create a better or more dynamic picture. Today, there are apps or the phone itself that will perform these photo editing functions for you. 

So, the question you’re probably wondering now is when to I use HDR in your pictures. As with everything in photography there will always be exceptions, but here are some tips for when you should think about kicking your picture game up a notch.

First, anytime you’re shooting a big landscape picture there’s a good chance HDR will enhance the shot. The different light in the sky and different elements on the ground provide for the perfect opportunity for HDR to really shine. That goes for really any picture where sunlight is predominant or a central part of the picture. The different shading and softening of bright light HDR can achieve can make a picture look much better.

One of the times you’re going to want to avoid HDR use is in pictures where there is excessive movement. The multiple shots HDR takes will only increase the likelihood of blurry pictures. Also, if there are too many colors in a picture HDR can cause the shot to be a bit to overwhelming. 

There are over 1.8 billion pictures shared on the internet each day. Instagram alone had more than 30 times the entire photo archive of the Library of Congress in 2012. Today, there are approximately 300 million active users sharing about 70 million photos each day.

If you want your photos to stand out, taking them in HDR is a great way to do just that. Keep these tips in mind and try experimenting with this cool kind of photo editing.