“is that photo HDR”? Why yes it is, thanks for asking!


In the relatively short history of digital photography, I can’t remember anything as revolutionary, trendsetting, and divisive,  as “high dynamic range”, better known as simply HDR. I remember well when i first saw it, and going, “Wow”. I knew it had real potential, but also lots of drawbacks. I immediately downloaded the original Photomatix Pro, and starting playing with it. I quickly discovered that people either loved it or hated it, and that is still the case. Some photographers still shun it, and others have made a career out of it, like Trey Ratcliff at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/. Essentially it overcomes a shortcoming of film or digital sensors, and gives the photograph a larger range, much as your eyes, in association with your brain” processor”, can see. It can take this original photo and turn it into a much more interesting and dynamic photo. My first attempts at this came up with some pretty weird looking images, which is fine for fine art, or for other purposes, but for the Real Estate brokers, they are not looking for weird. The secret is in knowing when to dial it back, and get the effect you and the client want, without going too far.

Before and after editing, with Nik HDR Efex Pro and Nik Color Efex Pro, as well as Adobe Lightroom 4
Dining Room Before and After
Dining Room

It goes without saying that all tastes are not the same, and some clients want more dramatic effects, and others want to play it straight. The following image shows just a little HDR effect, but still enough to bring out details otherwise left unseen. So while my clients don’t have to know the details, the name, or how it’s done, I want them to appreciate the change that it has on their end product. The time spent doing it is fairly significant, but the results are well worth it.

2 replies to ““is that photo HDR”? Why yes it is, thanks for asking!

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