HDR – All Things You Should Know About High-dynamic-range-imaging Technique

Last Updated on March 2, 2023 by Peter Wood

What does HDR stand for? It is known as high dynamic range, which can describe the cameras or techniques to capture a greater dynamic range than SDR. If you need to use the HDR mode of cameras or purchase an HDR TV, you should learn more about the HDR definition, how it works, or even creates some stunning HDR photos from the article now.

HDR - High Dynamic Range

Part 1. HDR Definition

HDR is short for High Dynamic Range which is a technique used in imaging and photography. It can reproduce a dynamic range of luminosity than possible with standard digital imaging or photographic technology. (From Wikipedia)

HDR Image

High Dynamic Range photograph can achieve by post-processing of taking a series of images and combining them with exposure bracketing. The photography practice is for HDR cameras or camera phones and video files applied to HDR TV. Both high dynamic range on TV and photography in images having a great contrast between light and dark. However, the way they work is slightly different. Even HDR photography and HDR video share the same name and some common points, they are still different. So let’s talk about HDR video for TV and HDR for Smartphone photography separately below.

Part 2. HDR Photography for Camera, iPhone and Other Smartphone

Section 1. How HDR Works on Photos

HDR photo are merged at least with two or more photos taken at different exposure levels by some HDR software. Some HDR applications claim to create HDR photographs out of one image. However, it is not an HDR photo. It should be an HDR filter instead.

HDR Photo

When you turn on the HDR mode of your HDR Camera or iPhone, the device takes photos of the same subject with varying shutter speeds and apertures. Then you can use HDR software to put images together and highlight the best part of each photo. Instead of taking one picture, it usually takes three. It is the reason that HDR images take a longer time than regular ones.

Section 2. HDR Camera

It should be preferably with an Auto Exposure Bracketing function Camera or HDR Camera. You can also adjust the camera setting manually between each shot. However, if the pictures do not line up, the final HDR image is wired.

  • A stabilizer should be another plus for the HDR photos, such as the tripod.
  • When you need to make some professional HDR photographs, the HDR lenses should be a good choice.
  • HDR software should be a tool to create an HDR photo. HDR free should be good to render the pictures taken by your camera to HDR photograph.

Section 3. HDR Smartphone

As for HDRs on a smartphone, your phone can do all the work for you. Just turn on the built-in HDR function by tapping the HDR option inside the camera app. You only have to snap the picture, and then the smartphone will take one regular photo together with one HDR photo.

But there are some drawbacks of the HDR Smartphone. It might be hard to hold the device still or mount it on a tripod while taking an HDR photo. And the built-in HDR is weak. You might find the differences between the two pictures with no pronounced. However, HDR on iPhone may give you a different experience when photographing a shaded subject set against a sunny sky or more.

Section 4. HDR iPhone

As HDR is around for a long time on iPhone, it works for you no matter if you use the old iPhone 5/6/7, or the latest iPhone 8/X/10/12. HDR on iPhone is the combination of three shots taken within milliseconds of each other and stitched together into one photo.

Usually, it’s hard to achieve perfect exposure of both land and sky, in which situation traditional cameras may let you choose between a too-bright or a subject lost in the dark. So iPhone creates a High Dynamic Range (HDR) by combining the properly exposed parts of each of the three images and combines them into one that looks seamless.

Then how to take an HDR photo on iPhone or other iOS devices? That is easy. Open the Camera app on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. And then tap HDR to make sure it’s set to Auto or On and frame the photo. Tap the Shot button and take the HDR photo. Just remember, when taking an HDR photo, the iOS device will save one image with HDR and one without HDR. You can save the one you like and delete the other one.

HDR on iPhone

Section 5. When Use HDR

HDR technique is used in imaging and photography to reproduce a dynamic range of luminosity. But not all the photos can use the High Dynamic Range for a better looking. Here are some situations that you should pay special attention to deal with HDR images.

Just as the definition of HDR, the exposure or lighting should take into first consideration. When one photo cannot deal with the contrast between different objects in the photo, an HDR photograph should be a great help.

  • Low-Light scenes are the most frequently used occasions for HDR photos. The photo might be too dark to s HDR can brighten up the foreground with different exposure.
  • Harsh Sunshine, as the opposite of Backlit or Low-Light scenes. When the photos are taken in harsh sunshine or too much lighting, the HDR photo should apply.
  • Static Objects. The HDR technique should stitch photos with the same scene. Pictures with movements increase the blurry. You can use HDR for landscapes, portraits, and other occasions.

There are conditions, in which are not suitable for HDR photographs, such as movement photos. And the high contrasted and vivid color scenes do not suit HDR as well. But for the skilled photographers, they can also make HDR happen for these occasions with photo effects. Here you can get a more vivid concept from the following video produced by TECHquickie.

All in one word, HDR photographs should be the magic of lightens for photos. HDR image formats are often called scene-referred. Once you use the HDR mode of your camera, you can use HDR merge to find whether it works for you. Just do not be afraid to try, as you can use the HDR tool to get better pictures.

Part 3. How to Make an HDR Photo from Your Shots

If you have already taken a series of images with different brackets, or just need to apply the HDR filter, WidsMob HDR is the all-in-one HDR photo editor. to make stunning photos from your shots. It provides 2 HDR modes to make stunning photos with both single photos and series of bracketed photos. You can also apply different HDR effects, adjust the HDR filters, choose smart tone parameters, tweak image radiance, and others.

1. Merge bracketed images into HDR or apply a single photo with HDR filters.

2. Provide 10 different HDR filters for both bracketed HDRs and HDR effects.

3. Tweak colors, smart tones, color filters, vignettes, HDR noise, and others.

4. Support JPEG file formats, as well as RAW file formats from most cameras.

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Step 1: Once you have installed WidsMob HDR, you can launch the program on your computer. Click the Add Photos button in the upper left corner to import the desired files. Moreover, you can also drag-n-drop multiple photos to merge them into HDR photographs accordingly.

Import Photos for Auto HDR

Step 2: Select the desired HDR mode, the Bracketing mode for a series of photos with different exposures you have taken in HDR mode, or the Single Photo mode to apply an HDR filter. After that, you can choose the photo(s) you need for the HDR mode before post-processing.

Select HDR Mode

Step 3: It will automatically stitch photos into an HDR image. You can turn on the Before/After comparison from the upper right menu. Select the desired HDR effect from the Effect tab, which provides 10 different stunning templates to make your photos special and attractive.

Apply HDR Filter

Step 4: When you need to further edit the HDR filters, you can head to the Advanced menu and tweak the different settings, including HDR, Smart Tone, Image Radiance, Color Filter, Vignetting, and HDR Denoise. If you get a satisfactory image, you can click the Save As button to export the file.

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Part 4. HDR TV – High Dynamic Range for Television

High dynamic range (HDR) video is one of the TV feature bullet points as Samsung announced HDR10+ and Apple has announced the Apple TV 4K supporting both HDR and Dolby Vision. HDR is arguably the most important and the most confusing buzzword in the TV world now. So what is HDR for TV? How will HDR make video pictures look better than ever? Keep reading and learn all the things related to HDR video technology you want to know.

Section 1. What is HDR TV?


Dolby advertises its Dolby Vision HDR tech. The left side has HDR enabled. – Dolby

HDR for TV means better contrast, greater brightness levels, and a wider color palette to make your films and TV shows look a bit more like real life. HDR promises better pixels to make bright whites to be brighter, for dark blacks to be darker and 10-bit panels to display all 1 billion colors. That means HDR video content on HDR-compatible TVs can get brighter and darker at the same time and show more shades of gray in between. Similarly, they can produce deeper and more vivid reds, greens and blues, and show more shades in between.

The most common format of HDR is HDR10 which is supported universally by Blu-ray players, 4K TVs, and game consoles. Besides HDR10, there are still other competing standards in increasing numbers like Dolby Vision and Advanced HDR by Technicolor. And HDR10+ is the latest standard that tries to build some benefits of Dolby Vision into an open-standard akin to HDR10.

Section 2. How to Get HDR for TV?

To enjoy HDR on TV, you may need HDR content and HDR-compatible TV. There are streaming services like iTunes, Netflix, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, and YouTube support HDR for some of their 4K content. Some are using Dolby Vision for HDR, while others are using HDR10. All major 4K capable media streaming sites can handle HDR in some form though lack of consistency. Amazon Fire TV and Roku Streaming Stick + can only support HDR10 currently. While Apple TV 4K and Google Chromecast Ultra support both HDR10 and Dolby Vision.

An HDR-compatible TV would take advantage of the additional information in the signal. And the panel is calibrated to handle the information. Moreover, the HDR TV will produce a better picture which means it can evaluate HDR performance.

Section 3. HDR vs 4K, What is the Differences?

HDR would sometimes is confused with another TV buzzword called UHD. UHD (Ultra High Definition) is also known as 4K. Both HDR and 4K try to improve your viewing experience. However, they are nothing in common since they are different technologies. UHD is trying to bump up the pixel count while HDR tries to make the existing pixels more accurate. So it is a matter of quantity and quality.

HDR TV Image

Currently, 4K and HDR tend to come hand-in-hand. So you can see the vast majority of HDR-compatible TVs on the market are also 4K Ultra HD TVs. However, HDR is the step forward. HDR market is not yet mature, so if you want to buy a 4K TV for HDR-compatible, you may take serious consideration. Since HDR is a high-end feature, for now, the price of HDR TV is much higher than the non-HDR 4K TV today. Moreover, the HDR content has not yet been widely accessible. So it may be worth waiting for a while for the HDR market to mature and HDR content widely accessible before making the next big TV purchase.

In this article, we generally introduce both definitions for HDR photography and HDR TV. If you want to know more about HDR or get something to share, you can leave us a message below.

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