LDR (Low Dynamic Range) Image Format – Things You Should Know About

Last Updated on December 7, 2021 by Peter Wood

What should be the main differences between smartphones and digital cameras? The digital camera provides more parameters to get a high-quality image, including LDR, HDR, Lens, ISO, aperture, and more. These parameters decide the quality of the photos taken by the camera. To be a professional photographer, you can learn more about the Low Dynamic Range Image format and master the skills.

Low Dynamic Range might be terminology and difficult to understand. When you take photos with digital cameras, you should pay special attention to the parameter and learn more about taking a beautiful picture with LDR cameras.

LDR (Low Dynamic Range) Image Format

Part 1: What is LDR (Low Dynamic Range Image Format)

Learn the parameter latitude and dynamic range before LDR or Low Dynamic Range. Dynamic range describes a digital camera’s dynamic range from the darkest shadow to the brightest. For example, the digital camera that could resolve 14 stops can capture a scene with a 14-stop brightness range and show the information from stop 0 to stop 14.

So the dynamic range decides both the highlights handling and shadows of a digital camera. The other parameter related is latitude. The latitude measures the flexibility of a digital camera to expose without significantly compromising the photo. The latitude parameter is usually less than the dynamic range of a camera.

When the dynamic range becomes bigger, latitude is also bigger. However, sometimes the latitude might decrease, even though the dynamic range is large. The mechanism is too complicated and professional to discuss here. Let’s concentrate on the concept of dynamic range. The dynamic range of human eyes is approximately 100,000:1 and much larger than cameras. So you usually feel that the images taken by the camera are less perfected than the world in your eye.

Dynamic Range Chart

Learn more about Low Dynamic Range

LDR is the abbreviation of low dynamic range, which is 255:1 and lower; on the other hand, HDR is the abbreviation of high dynamic range. As the pictures above indicated, the big picture is the real world in our eyes; the three pictures beneath are the results of different exposure times. The advantage of HDR cameras could produce a more natural image by combining these results. In a word, the larger the dynamic range is, the higher the latitude, the more capable a camera is of detecting color in all its brightness.

LD Image

Part 2: How to take a beautiful picture with LDR

LDR camera is more affordable than HDR one, that does not mean you cannot utilize an LDR camera to capture beautiful photos. The article introduces examples to capture a perfect image with an LDR camera.

Expose the highlights

imgExpose the highlights

If you take a photo in high contrast, exposing the subject highlights to blow out is the best choice for LDR cameras. The users could squeeze a little bit of dynamic range from the sensors to compensate for the disadvantage of the low dynamic range.

Expose the Highlight



The method above could emphasize the subject in the picture. If you need to capture the subject and the background in detail with an LDR camera, you may face a challenge. The defect of the LDR camera is to show the details in shadows, so if there is enough light to brighten the shadows, this problem will disappear. You might ask what the source of light is. The answer is the Sun. You can use it with a simple reflector to capture a perfect image.



The silhouette is absolutely a fantastic way to show the subject in a big and beautiful scene. And it is not necessary to make a silhouette photo in Photoshop. You can use the LDR camera to achieve a better effect. This time you should expose the highlights and let the subject fall into silhouette instead of the exposure of the highlights to blow out in the high contrast situation.

Remember you use all dynamic ranges to shoot the highlights and make the shadows clip to black.


ND gels

imgND gels

In addition to the reflectors, the neutral density gel (ND gel) is another best friend of LDR camera users. And they are useless on a cloudy day or inside of buildings. At this time, you could try to decrease the highlights through ND gels. Attach ND gels on windows or strong light sources to control the shadows and exposure, and then you can take the entire scene.

When you take photos outside with the sun being too bright to capture the details, you can attach an ND filter in front of the lens.

ND gels

Part 3: How to Get LDR Effect on Windows and Mac

Is there any software to create some LDR effect images with a natural-looking? Whether you need to make HDR photography on Windows/Mac, or apply natural HDR filters, WidsMob HDR is the stunning HDR maker you can take into consideration. It enables you to tweak the tone length, tone saturation, ghost suppression, brightness, saturation, contrast, and more other effects.

  1. Produce natural-looking HDR images with advanced Alignment technology.
  2. Create a stunning and beautiful HDR photo by combining three photos.
  3. Reduce ghost and noise from your HDR images with ghost compression.
  4. Built-in tone mapping and a wide range of parameters to create files.
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Step 1: Launch WidsMob HDR after installing the program on your computer.

You can go to the File menu and select the Import button and add a series of 3-bucketed images for HDR into the program.

Add Photos HDR

Step 2: Once you have imported the images, it will analyze and align your photos before combining the photos into an HDR image. Moreover, you can have a comparison between the original images.

Combine HDR Image

Step 3: After that, you can adjust the parameters on the right side, such as Tone Length, Tone Saturation, Brightness, Ghost Suppression, and more to tweak the Tone Mapping effects.

Adjust Parameter HDR

Step 4: Click the Save button to trigger the save-to dialog. Then set filename, output format, and other options and export the image to your hard disk. Click on the Share button to share the image directly.

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Based on the introduction above, you might understand that dynamic range is a parameter for digital cameras. Therefore when you buy a new camera, you have to read the description carefully. The dynamic range of your camera will affect the quality of the photos. Not all digital cameras have HDR mode. You can use LDR cameras to take beautiful pictures without a problem. All you have to do is use some accessories, like reflectors and ND gels, and some knacks. Of course, you can explore the potentials of your LDR camera through more skills.