HDR Photography – What Do You Think About It?

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What do you think of HDR Images?

Over in our forums we have many thousands of reader submitted images in our Critique sections (as well as others) but one type of image that has really grown in popularity over the last year has been the HDR image (HDR = High Dynamic Range). I’ve posted a few below for those of you who don’t know what HDR images are.

There are numerous discussion on HOW to make HDR images in our forums but one recurring discussion that I’m seeing around the web is over whether it’s a form of photography that people like. Some people love the effect and others hate it. Some say it’s not ‘pure’ photography others ask what pure photography really is? Some call it ‘fake’ and others see it as a thing of beauty.

I thought it’d make an interesting discussion. Do you like HDR images? What do you like or dislike about them?

Here are five more HDR images to inspire some discussion.


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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • Eli Vega

    I like the first one and the last one—they meet the purpose of HDR: minimize the range between lights and darks. The others look like your typical HDR image: the look cartoonish; like illustrations; like exaggerated architectural renderings.

    We as a profession need to come up with a name for that type of software creations. They’re not photographs; they’re not paintings. Maybe “digital mixed media?”

    http://www.elivega.net

Some Older Comments

  • Robert Walker August 21, 2011 10:00 pm

    I am learning to love HDR. I do like the natural look of the landscapes and real estate photography. I do like some of the artsy HDR out there even if it is unnatural looking. Artists taking photography to the next level. Sometimes I think it is a bit overdone. I do think this is a wave of the future until the camera makers catch up without the need for special HDR software. Sometimes the way out there images look too "photoshopped" for my taste but to the artist I salute you.

  • trish September 14, 2010 12:10 pm

    The pictures look cartoonish and difficult to view and decipher what exactly you're looking at especially if the photograph is cluttered. Does anybody have any of this type of photography in black & white?

  • steven August 21, 2010 10:33 am

    HDR o me is a process of pulling out of an image what is hidden beneath the shadows inside the image,the color range is spectacular,rather than the bland image of reality the human eyes sees,this is a hybrid image that picks out what the human eyes cannot image in ordinary sight,,i love the process,what can be more natural than pulling out true colors from an image,,,and every image is different and unique,,HDR is a marvelous process,,,,

  • Mayee Lim March 17, 2010 06:07 am

    I really like to dramatic impact that you can get with HDR photos. Even theover enhanced look can create an interesting effect. I think that the HDR style has great potential, not everyone or for every situation but it is eye catching.

    I do not feel that HDR will overide or be consider any threat to all other styles of photography, like fashion some styles may be considered to be more "in season" than others.

    Ultimately, it's a different way to see the world and it's always interesting to see the world from different perspectives and vision.

  • James February 28, 2010 03:52 pm

    Many HDR photos remind me of the fad paintings of Thomas Kinkade ("Painter of Light"), in most of which there is sunlight still in the evening sky, yet the lights in shop windows shine and glow brightly. In true evening light, most of the faint lights in windows really aren't visible.

    In the same manner, the shadowed part of a mountain only has definition when the eye is focused upon it and the iris gathers more light through dilation. I think HDR that is overly compensated will impress many people for a span of several years then will be looked upon as a passing fad. Of course a moderate amount of shadow to highlight exposure adjustment ("DR" without the "H") has always been a part of making appealing photographs.

  • lexicon February 10, 2010 12:42 am

    i agree with the last 4 post .

    someone built a bridge called hdri. Maybe one day you will cross it the same way you crossed the digital bridge. Its ok to be afraid of the new. The artist makes work based on the culmination of experinces of his or her life without regaurd to the perfection of the masses. Some of us have been taking picture as a job for so long that you have forgotten the joy of exerimentation...

    push your boundries to seek new limits and maybe the next bridge we cross is the one you built

  • Dave Stiles February 3, 2010 12:45 am

    I'm from the old silver image era. I marveled at the photo techniques of Ansel Adams and the F64 group. These guys relied on large format images, an eye for composition, and lots of photo manipulation in the darkroom. I would spend hours in the darkroom trying to achieve a specific affect - dodging and burning.

    The digital world has completely changed the way we make photographs. Photoshop is an amazing and essential tool. HDR is just one more unbelievable technological triumph in the advancement of photographic technique. Those old guys would have given anything to be able to experiment with the new technology if they had had it.

    HDR helps create incredible images but it still all about composition. A great artist using HDR becomes a better artist. Technology enhances creativity and creativity enhances technology.

  • Ron Tussy January 21, 2010 11:53 am

    OK, I can't help but respond to this statement; ‘Photography is not art. It is reality. Photography is a practical technical skill.’ I disagree. It is both and it is visual communication. "Finally, no photography is about capturing a scene as it really is. The human eye captures an image but the brain interprets it in a variety of different ways, all sight is tinged with a heavy dose of interpretation and an image of a scene as it actually appears would look unfamiliar to us, because our brains correct for exposure, white balance and recompose an image, altering perspective and highlighting important elements."

    Wholly not true. We all see "reality" with zero interpretation that can be quantified based on known parameters and we have have this ability since the 1920's. Look it up.

    HDR in it's purest form get's us back to the original intent of visual communication, (art and information) prior to the advent of the narrow gamut required in color film based, originally in the 1860's - now sensor based, RGB photography. If you don't believe me, look at the painting, 'The Last Supper "by DiVinci. The EV is the same throughout the painting, even though it shows interior and outdoor landscape, an impossibility in today's photography without HDR. Wide gamut HDR, not taken to the extreme shows us what we all see in reality, not how color film or RGB/Bayer pattern image sensors see light. Our brains do not correct for exposure. That's why we see the same value looking indoor to outdoor. We see an infinately wide gamut in reality. We're just used to seeing the results of a narrow gamut captured on film, video with DSCs as a result of RGB sensors.

    From a purely philosophical standpoint, it is high time we get back to the original intent of visual communication after being sidetracked by the film photography medium for 150 years. HDR will be embedded in capture devices, display devices and output devices soon, because it is human nature to see this "reality", not to be constrained by 150 years of low-tech film based solutions. It is computational photography that will allow us to visually communicate again in a reality based medium. Hurry!

  • Carlisle December 30, 2009 11:16 am

    'Photography is not art. It is reality. Photography is a practical technical skill.'

    This comment kind of invalidates everything else Brian has said... because it suggests that good photography is objective and absolute, that there is only one way to achieve a good photograph (objective) and that there is such a thing as 100% perfection to strive for (absolute)... this is the case in all 'practical technical skills'. If this is true then surely we would need objective proof that HDR makes a better photograph, something that cannot be proven. To the vast majority of it's adherents photography is an art, and you only have to look at how different photographers approach the same scene differently

    Logic aside, I don't see a future where HDRI is automatically applied to all images, for two reasons:

    Firstly, HDRI is a response to limited technology... image sensing and displaying equipment can't match the range of brightness perceived by the human eye, and HDRI is a compensatory technique. I think rather than better technology leading to HDRI being performed in-camera, it will lead to sensors and displays that can handle a much wider range.

    Secondly, when colour photography was invented, black and white wasn't made obselete, and when automatic exposure metering was invented, photographers didn't abandon manual mode and light meters and film is still used in preference to digital by many photographers. New technology in the arts always complements the old; for creative reasons many artists choose to continue without the new technology. I can't see a situation ever arising where all photographers agree that there is no longer any point in having non HDRI images.

    Finally, no photography is about capturing a scene as it really is. The human eye captures an image but the brain interprets it in a variety of different ways, all sight is tinged with a heavy dose of interpretation and an image of a scene as it actually appears would look unfamiliar to us, because our brains correct for exposure, white balance and recompose an image, altering perspective and highlighting important elements.

  • Kenny December 29, 2009 06:44 am

    I agree with some of the points made by brian, above, but I strongly disagree with the statement that 'photography is not an art'. To suggest that photography is merely a 'practical technical skill' as you put it, is to completely miss the point of taking photographs in the first place.

    Sure, if after many years of shooting the same old commercial stuff, day in, day out, as a professional, you may become a bit less enthusiastic about photography, that's not the same as looking at the 'art' from the perspective of an enthusiast or keen amateur, or indeed many active professionals.

    Photography is reality, you state. Really? It may be subject to realism, when the subject demands, as in photo-journalism, or in architectural photography, where the 'real' image is paramount to the integrity of the subject or story, but how 'real' are the many millions of images posted every day on the internet?

    Many of these have been processed by photoshop or other photo-editing software. Many will have been altered using the basic enhancements within the camera itself, and many more will simply have had a polariser, or warm-up, or UV filter, fitted to the lens to adjust yet another facet of the image. So how 'real' are these images?

    In my humble opinion, all of these images have been altered in some aspect or other, but it doesn't really matter, because they are ALL photo art, and in art, pretty much anything goes. There are some common phrases like 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder', and 'One man's meat, is another man's poison'. These are very relevant here, because there is no right or wrong with photography, because it IS an art, NOT merely a practical technical skill.

    There is a school of thought that suggests we, here in Europe, having such a long cultured history, over the last thousand years or so, have developed an appreciation of the 'old' arts - painting, sculpting, drawing, etc, and find it difficult to appreciate the 'new' forms of art, like photography.

    It is a completely different story across the 'pond', where the Americans celebrate the new arts as being every bit as precious and deserving of praise as the 'classics'. Much of this is, of course, down to the sheer snobbery and elitism prevalent within the art world's aristocracy. This is one of the reasons that photography will always play second fiddle to 'mainstream art' outside the America's.

    So, to sum up, long live HDR, and I welcome the next new thing to arrive to the infinitely expandable world of photography!!

    Cheers,

    Kenny

  • Brian December 27, 2009 01:32 pm

    None of the comments seem definitive. HDR is fairly new (1990s). It is still evolving. But I'm sure within a short time the tools will be standardized, and HDR will not be called HDR, because everyone will use it. Eventually it will be built right into camera electronics. People, HDR is the greatest advance in photography in the last 100 years.

    The entire object of photography is to capture in an image what the eye sees. Extrapolated, this means the closer an image looks to what it is an image of the better the image is. Photography is not art. It is reality. Photography is a practical technical skill.

    I get the idea that most of the people who don't like HDR can't do HDR. And, most of the people who like HDR aren't afraid of it. HDR is the w ave of the future. Already there are computer-on-chip devices nearly powerful enough to process HDR on camera. It's only a matter of time before HDR technology is universally used for most situations.

    Presently one requires a PC, and several programs to make an HDR image. But there was a time when you needed a light meter separate from the camera to get the proper exposure. People still use meters, but they are much less necessary for SLR work. With CCD densities today, one can capture fantastic shots once only possible with larger formats.

    I like HDR. If it was within the realm of every photographer, I think all photographers would like it. The beauty of it is that HDR is a purely mathematical means to overcome photographic equipment manufacturing technology shortcomings. And you asked your teacher, "How am I ever going to use algebra in the real world?" She/he should have said, "HDR".

  • Derek September 18, 2009 11:21 pm

    HDR is another medium to be included in the procession of art forms portayed through photography. Personally I love HDR and the surreal FX it can provide.......

  • soe pinoey September 15, 2009 02:57 pm

    really love HDR photography...!! i love so much..more than that, i want to learn n can make HDR photo..is there a chance for me to learn that? what website i can browse then? thanks...

  • Marianne Bush September 14, 2009 04:21 am

    HDR is wonderful when used correctly, i.e. with the original non-HDR image blended in to maintain the reality of the shot. Those awful halos and the exaggerated use of the effect will hopefully become a thing of the past as people learn to process correctly. As mentioned by someone else here, people who have no idea of photography and composition will turn to over-the-top HDR processing for effect.

  • Carlisle August 17, 2009 08:36 am

    Another point with these fad techniques, is that many novice photographers will learn HDRI because they are fashionable and cool, before learning basic photographic theory such as composition and lighting. So you get average shots given a veneer of professionalism because they are trendy.... the photographer is happy with the results and just continues to take average shots without attempting to improve the basics.

  • left_of_center August 13, 2009 02:10 am

    I have a very strong opinion when it comes to HDR images. I agree with what others have said here, that it is very rare to see an HDR image that has been processed well. That being said, I have to say the image above by Mor is probably the most impressive HDR image I've seen. For the most part, I really hate poorly done HDR, which seems to be the majority of the images out there. I'm not sure how I feel about the ethical issues surrounding HDR either. I come from a background in photojournalism, so the manipulation associated with HDR scares me away from it, and thus I really don't care for photography that is done that way. Mor's image above though is beautifully done, and it's inspired me to maybe try HDR, maybe.

  • TUTTYGUALBERTO July 18, 2009 05:46 am

    I agree with Matthew. Art is art and documentation is documentation.
    "Each thing is a thing"

  • Matthew July 17, 2009 11:15 pm

    Do you like it? Is it "real" photography? The first question is an opinion. The second is an argument of semantics.

    You have to break pgotography down into two distinct sections: documentation or art.

    If you ask me if I like a HDR photo I have to ask am I looking at it as a form of documentation. If so, then I disapprove. We are distorting what the human eye can see by itself. We have changed reality.

    If you ask me about a photo that is artistic, then I approve of them. It is art.

    But, that said... documentation or art, there are images that I just don't like for personal asthetics. Both styles are legit forms of photography - just don't try pass one off as the other.

  • PhillT June 10, 2009 07:19 pm

    Great photographers take great photos with their cameras.

    Great processors make ordinary photos look more appealing.

    A trully great photo is one that looks great straight off the camera.

    Photographers are artists.

    Processors are artists of a different kind, no less an artist though.

    My belief, anyway.

  • AjitMenon May 7, 2009 02:17 pm

    I love some of the deaturated shots I've seen.. though sometimes, I think people overdo it with heavy saturation and heavy reds/ blues etc.

  • Carlisle April 12, 2009 03:36 am

    My views seem to reflect those of most people here... I like the bookshop and statue, but find the other's overdone.

    I do like overdone photos (such as those done where HDRI isn't strictly necessary.) but I see it as a special effect rather than a bread-and-butter photographic technique. And it is becoming a bit of a 'fad' Rather than photographers making an informed decision on whether overdone HDRI will enhance a photo, many of them just seem to be applying it indiscriminately to every single photo they take, because it looks 'cool'... this is what I don't like.

    For the record I haven't done this sort of extreme HDRI myself. There are a couple of photos on my website which are HDRI but I defy anyone to actually tell me which ones they are.

  • MeiTeng March 25, 2009 03:55 pm

    I don't like the Times Square and Chicago. Looks unreal and overdone. I like the ones by Mor and Salmoral. I share Tom's sentiment about HDR but don't mind trying it out myself.

  • tuttygualberto March 8, 2009 08:05 am

    Eu gosto. Acho que é uma nova técnica e não será a última que aparecerá porque a fotografia evolui como tudo mais.

    I like. I think it is a new technique and will not be the last appear because the photograph evolves as everything else.

  • Ignatz Horowitz September 29, 2008 11:50 am

    HDR can produce beautiful images. If over-done, trash. Go to the "20 amazing HDR pictures" or whatever it's called, or tag "HDR" on Flikr, and see how NOT to do HDR. I do maninly landscapes...landscapes should NOT look like a cartoon. Unless you're going for that look, then, eye of the beholder, I reckon. Some folks think Jesus in a jar of piss is art, too.

  • Joshua Schneiderman June 25, 2008 01:51 am

    My opinion, as a graphic designer is that there is a time and place for it - just as there is for different lenses, etc. It's not for everything. If discretion isn't used, it will become just another bit of the visual clutter out there. But if the subject and circumstance calls for it, use it.

    If it wasn't such a powerful medium, it wouldn't provoke so much discussion.

  • Sony Alphah June 17, 2008 04:12 pm

    I do not like HDR.

  • Cornell June 6, 2008 03:22 pm

    Depends on whether it's done well or over done. I would call all of the examples shown above "overdone". They look like they're on megadoses of steroids.

  • Richard June 5, 2008 10:30 am

    I have two views on this issue. I see a lot of talent out there with HDR and many are outstanding but I also believe that much is way overdone. Even though it takes a wonderful talent to do it either way. And I'll admite, I never have liked the ones that look like a watercolor painting, or complete antimations,but thats just me.

  • Shawna Goodman June 4, 2008 08:44 am

    I love it. I have been doing HDR just about a year now. I don't care it you hate it either it is just another form of photography in my opinion. In my experience some images really work better than others when you convert them but in the end it is all in the "eye of the beholder".

  • Monica June 3, 2008 02:24 am

    I am also sort of a novice Photographer but I have to admit, I love HDR and hope to learn how to do it myself one of these days. To me, it is definitely an artistic expression and makes photos seem so otherwordly at times. They tend to inspire a sense of awe for me -- the colors, tones, and definition are phenomenal (if done correctly). Photography is always something I consider an art form, and HDR, to me, is just another tool to enhance that creativity and expression.

  • A. Saechao June 2, 2008 03:21 am

    Well, I'm quite a beginning Photographer so I don't know how legit or seious people will take my response, but I love HDR. Art, Photography, is not Science or Math where you strictly need to do certains in only one way. I'm always open to new styles of Art or Photography and I think HDR is really cool looking and just an evolution of Photography. Anyways Art is Art and it shouldn't have any limitations, HDR is awesome and I really could care less if it's "real" or "fake" photography.

  • Noah May 31, 2008 08:05 am

    Just like anything else in terms of enhancing or editing digital images, HDR is best used in moderation. I can understand the argument of it looking "fake" - because its very easy to go way overboard during the HDR creation process.

    In love HDR, but I think the more subtle the effect, the more impact it has.

  • Karen May 30, 2008 08:47 pm

    This is the first time I've seen HDR photography and my initial reaction was that it brought the photo to life, particularly in the ones taken of the bookstore and the kitchen.

    I like it!

  • Georganna May 30, 2008 02:42 pm

    I like some HDR (e.g. bookstore & angel above), but others make by eyes jump. All art forms are interesting though. And, art is always evolving.

  • Jon Wilson May 30, 2008 11:34 am

    I think that Maciej does an awesome job with HDRs.
    http://www.lonelywolf.pl

  • CLS May 30, 2008 06:39 am

    I like HDR, but that said I agree it takes an artist to create an image that is compelling to the viewer not just eye candy.
    HDR is just another tool in our photography tool box. Right now I'm learning how to apply HDR effectively to create the image I had in my mind when I hit the shutter release on my camera.

  • Randy Knauf May 30, 2008 06:14 am

    For those who don't like it, that is their opinion and they are welcome to express themselves how they see fit. Now, if they say it is fake or not pure photography, my response is, "Oh so you are shooting on glass plates with chemicals that you applied yourself?". That is how photography began and the beginning is the only pure form of something. Over time things evolve, but they never remain pure to the original. So with all of that said, if they are shooting on glass plates then I think they have a valid point. If they are not shooting this way, then they are not what they represent themselves to be and are then themselves frauds or "Fake" photographers.

    I guess the best way to illistrate it is with music. The first music made by man was banging on a hollow log with a stick. To say that all other forms of music are fake is to deny the genius of Beethoven or Mozart.

  • Gregory May 30, 2008 05:29 am

    Seems like everyone has the same opinion... they like it an dislike it... but it all comes down to... good photography...

  • Justin Haugen May 30, 2008 05:14 am

    HDR is being misused by the majority of people new to it. People are incorporating HDR techniques in situations that do not call for it, when the dynamic range of their camera is enough to capture the light in a scene.

    HDR has digressed from being properly utilized as a means of correcting a short coming of digital image sensors, and is being used with gross creative liberty that to me looks like a novelty.

    A proper HDR image shouldn't look processed at all. It should not be obvious at all that any PP has been performed. That is the measure of a properly performed HDR merge.

  • George L Smyth May 28, 2008 03:48 am

    The examples above, IMO, should be referred to as tone mapping photography, as opposed to HDR. HDR allows for a wider range of tones than the camera's sensor of film to be captured. The way those tones are mapped is a different issue.

    In the above examples the tones are mapped in a way such that the extremes are displayed - the photographer could also have chosen to map the tones more realistically. So I would not refer to this as HDR, since a single image can be tone mapped with the result similar to the images above.

    Personally, I think that some images are made more interesting with the extreme tone mapping, but just like anything else, its overuse can make the image boring and pedantic.

  • Jozef Nagy May 28, 2008 03:39 am

    I'm of the opinion that photographers can debate endlessly whether HDR is "real" photography. In the end it's the guy staring at your final product that likes or dislikes what he sees. When I show HDR images to people, they don't give a hoot about photography, only that the image is amazing.

  • Miguel Reznicek May 27, 2008 03:30 am

    Eventually most high end cameras will have an HDR function. The sensor(s) inside the camera will take all 3 or 5 f/stop shots at once, and it will signify the end of poorly exposed photos for everyone! I can't wait. -Migs

  • Alperto May 26, 2008 07:33 pm

    Hello,
    HDR is a good technique in creating images somehow people some people use it in negative way for example this site www.sexy-mobilegames.com use it to produce videos in high quality resolution which i don't agree. It’s better to use this to create big posters related to the field. Some of you may not agree to what i said but this what i believe.

  • loom May 26, 2008 06:14 pm

    I hate it. Overprocessed, distasteful and kitsch. It's more about the technique and less about the subject.

  • Alex May 26, 2008 04:46 pm

    every camera will be HDR in the future, right now cameras have a limited dynamic range, far smaller than the human eye, as sensors become better they can capture a greater range, then everything will be HDR, so i say welcome HDR.

  • Chris May 26, 2008 12:02 pm

    I am new to photography in general, let alone HDR. Some of the pictures I have seen are simply amazing. I've done the research into this HDR thing and think I understand it. The thing I am not sure of is what it does to colors; I mean, the HDR images I've seen have the most vibrant, vivid, stunning, etc colors, much more so than "normal" photos. Can anyone help me out on this?

    Also, does Photoshop Elements 6 have an HDR function, or at least a way to fake the funk?

  • jgoldstein May 26, 2008 10:27 am

    I sum up my thoughts on HDR with in this post on my blog
    Why I Hate HDR: Photo Technology Porn

    To put it lightly I don't like it.

  • Ash May 26, 2008 03:57 am

    HDR images can look fantastic, but all too often people over-do it. Subtle HDR images can look really stunning.

    There can not seriously be an argument that it isn't a true form of photography, as it is still made up from light capture!

    I understand that some of the big manufacturers are now working on cameras that would be able to capture something like 12-stops of contrast - these cameras would therefore be taking HDR images straight out of the box. Unfortunately, this would probably spell the end of skill too, as you could more or less just meter off anything and get an acceptable result.

  • Mr Fred May 25, 2008 10:25 pm

    I think using it as a very subtle filter of sorts on images is OK but, just OK. I see it overused a lot and ordinarily mundane photos touted as "great" when the skill as photographer had nothing to do with it.

    The place I see it working is indoor shots with light from outside coming in. HDR does a nice job of balancing the light out.

    Otherwise? I've seen a flood of "HDR" photos submitted to "critique" sites and getting comments like "great shot" and such. IMO, HDR seems to discard any photographic fundamentals in exchange for a "pretty picture" of mostly boring stuff.

  • Mr Bach May 25, 2008 08:42 pm

    HDR isn't just for creating unusual effects, but can make a photo more acceptable.

    I under-exposed a flower, and the manual HDR adjustments on my editing software allowed me to restore the image to the proper exposure, so now it's absolutely beautiful.

    Photography is an art form, so there are many avenues one can pursue, even utilizing HDR for something out-of-the-
    ordinary.

  • Roland Hesz May 25, 2008 07:23 pm

    I like them when done well. When it's overdone or done badly it hurts my eyes. But that's not the fault of HDR, that's the fault of the guy who messed it up :)

  • homburgpokes May 25, 2008 07:04 pm

    "Color is the devil's work!" - Reaction to the rise of color photography.

    I am thankful for photography purists. There is a place in any hobby for those that remain true to the hobby's roots. I am also thankful that there are individuals who push the limits of the concept of photography. I enjoy HDR images. I tend to prefer the images that appear real, but also the surreal. I have a whole hiking trip planned around shooting for HDR images, but I'm not giving up on B&W either. HDR offers one more avenue of photography for folks to enjoy, or not to enjoy, whatever colors your world. -j

  • Ken Miller May 25, 2008 03:36 pm

    I don't care for HDR. I like realism is photography, something HDR is definitely not.

  • Taneli May 25, 2008 03:14 pm

    At best HRD photos can be more REAL than non HDR photos. Human eye reduces lisght dynamics when dynamic changes are big. HDR can do the same thing. I just love GOOD hrd photos hwich look realistic in situations hard to capture without it.

    When it is more like a stupid effect HRD sucks!

  • AniMei May 25, 2008 11:05 am

    I like HDR! It is a great way to have your shots in best appearance. However, I think the technique's more appropriate to be used in landscape photography.

  • Janjan May 25, 2008 10:44 am

    I am not against HDR per se. When executed well, it comes out with outstanding and beautiful images.

    What I am against are people who proliferate ugly HDR pictures like there's no tomorrow (and believe me, when an HDR picture is ugly, it's really ugly).

    HDR is a tricky technique... it can either make or break your picture. Unfortunately, there are so many people who don't know how to execute it (understanding only how to do an HDR picture without really understanding how to make it look good).

  • Mona May 25, 2008 07:32 am

    HDR is great..you can see the pic somehow like 3 dimension..very sharp and clear..would love to learn it when I have the chance...!But for now I still love the conventional one..just pure photography w/o so many "make-up"!

  • Mandy May 25, 2008 05:49 am

    It's definitely an interesting technique that I don't know anything about, except that it can produce some amazing images.

    Again as some of the others have said I think it depends on what you take as to the effect it produces. For instance the cityscapes seem a little 'cartoonish', but if that's what you're going for then it's great. It's just a question of taste and you'll never please everyone.

    I'd like to find out more about it...

  • WDOphoto May 25, 2008 04:42 am

    I really think that HDR photos are cool for certain purposes. I do mainly wedding and portrait photography so I don't see me incorporating HDR into much of my work but I've thought about doing some around Pittsburgh (where I live) because I think that architecture and landscapes can be really enhanced by the technique.

  • lone11 May 25, 2008 01:57 am

    You certainly got a response on this issue! I agree with Don Richardson and several others. It is an art form, some do it well, others do not. It is still maturing, but it won't go away.
    Viva la difference!

  • Azeem May 25, 2008 01:30 am

    Well i was really amazed with this hdr photos and i wanna something to do extra with cover the entire core things

  • Steven May 25, 2008 01:09 am

    I like them when they are used to turn photos into illustrations, or almost like paintings, such as with the Easter lilies(first link). But I also like it when it can highlight detail, such as gold trim in the San Francisco City Hall's rotunda and balcony rails (second link).

    http://lefteyed.aminus3.com/image/2008-03-26.html

    http://lefteyed.aminus3.com/image/2008-05-07.html

  • mw May 25, 2008 12:41 am

    When done right, HDR can be really beautiful - however I think people throw the term around to liberally. I've seen so many people claim HDR photographs when all they really did was combine 3 similar pictures. HDR is a fine art in the world of post production, it should be treated with as much care and respect as the actual production of images as well.

  • CmoodZ May 25, 2008 12:34 am

    I do like HDR. Maybe my feelings about HDR will change after I'm familiar with the process involved in creating an HDR image. I have a question, Do those of you that dislike HDR feel the same about digital infrared photos as well? Just curious. To me, HDR photos are in a class of their own and within that class I enjoy the look and feel of these images. I just see it as a different way of looking at something and I appreciate the diversity.

  • Don Richardson May 25, 2008 12:30 am

    I love good HDR but consider it more of a art form requiring photography to accomplish. The examples here are excellent but just like regular photos, I have seen some that are not so great.

  • Chris May 25, 2008 12:10 am

    When done Correctly , and done under the correct conditions, (because some things just dont warrent HDR , it can be very beautiful, I am a fan of the more realistic not the grungy over done surreal , drop in photomatix and tonemap and bam your done ... when tonemapped , and processed correctly in lightroom or aperture or cs3 then sure I like it

  • Kirk May 25, 2008 12:05 am

    Just a note about R.Scott's post if you haven't already figured it out: the actual website is not hsrsoft.com, rather

    Photomatix

  • toola May 25, 2008 12:02 am

    I'm not a a big HDR fan, but I don't mind it if it's subtle (I like the bike image for example) When it stops looking like a photo, I usually don't like the processing. I'm sure HDR could be useful in some landscape shots

  • Kirk May 24, 2008 11:59 pm

    I do like a lot of the HDR that I see. Sometimes, they can look darker and ultra vivid than reality would have them. As far as "is it pure photography"? I don't think so, because there is the PP that goes into them that removes the simplicity of what was captured originally. Regardless of my opinion, I still think that the samples I've seen are incredible and would like to try it myself someday. ARPhot

  • KagoGrl May 24, 2008 11:27 pm

    I love most HDR images. It's definitely something I'd like to get into! Just haven't quite figured out where to start! Soon maybe.

  • Billy Halsey May 24, 2008 06:36 pm

    As to whether HDR is “real” photography or not, I think any form of art that requires the use of a camera to capture a still image is photography. :) I think purists get carried away — in photography and in everything else — trying to limit and restrict what does and what doesn’t fit some pigeonhole definition. Why? Flexibility is more fun. Remembering that HDR is about exceeding the range of the camera, and not about a preconceived idea of the end result, I think HDR/XDR definitely has its place in photography, and a long future ahead of it at that.

    As to whether I personally like HDR, it depends on each image. The first one posted above I find incredibly beautiful (probably because of the lens distortion as well) and the last one as well. I think black & white HDR/XDR has the possibility for amazing results, and were he still alive, Ansel Adams would be right at the forefront of that technique.

  • Anselmo May 24, 2008 03:12 pm

    If the question was: "Do you like the use of HDR to produce realistc photos?" Than the answer would be: "Yes HDR can give to the photo a more realistc sense. But, when used wrong, the photo run away from what it should be".

    Att.: I don't say one photo is better than other, but one photo attend more to the objective of been a realistc photo than other.

    Now, if there isn't any realistc objective in the judgment of the photo. If it's just a question of: "Do you like that photo?" Then, don't matter in any way which tools or tecnics or super-camera or phone-camera or filter or etc. was used. It´s just a matter of taste. Like art, pure art. "Is cubism good for a paint?" Oh, yes, like any other style. "Is a cubism paint allways beatiful?" Oh, no. Not always, like any other style. It's just that simple.

    (And sorry for my *#&(#%!#? english. : ) )

  • abeku May 24, 2008 12:53 pm

    Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder..i really agree with john about it. You shoot what you like,everybody have their own perspective on seeing photo that is why art is a very subjective.How ever i also really like the HDR photography result, but at one time i feel like looking at the oil painting rather than a great photo taking by a camera.But it still not to say that i totally do not like it. Ermm...it is everybody opinion.

  • Kgim May 24, 2008 11:39 am

    I like carefully produced HDR that mimic the effect of higher DR perceived by human vision. I don't like overdone special effect HDR.

  • Jim May 24, 2008 10:29 am

    Most HDR is to photography what Michael Jackson is to plastic surgery.

  • Devyn May 24, 2008 10:21 am

    Add me to the "Not a fan of HDR" list... I like occasional shots, but most of them are just way too over done.

  • My Camera World May 24, 2008 09:53 am

    I am always curious as to whether these are really HDR images (multiple exposures) or a image that is processed using HDR techniques by changing the exposure on an image and then using HDR techniques.

    It not the HDR that makes the images enjoyable, but the image itself.

    A painting (unless realistic techniques) is quite abstract compared to photography, but great images are always enjoyable in whatever method is used.

    Niels Henriksen

  • R. Scott May 24, 2008 08:59 am

    I've tried the Photoshop CS3 HDR function and been completely underwhelmed with the results. Today I downloaded photomatix from hsrsoft.com and gave it a whirl with the same images I used before. It's awesome. Exactly what I'd hoped for using PS CS3.

    It seems to me that "good HDR" may be a combination of knowing how to shoot for HDR as well as having the right software.

  • MIchael Zahora May 24, 2008 08:56 am

    I find this discussion fascinating. People saying HDR is not good photography and they hate it. While others say it is great. Being able to reproduce what the eye sees.

    Photographers have always been limited by the dynamic range that can be captured by the camera. Before digital, photographers were in the darkroom trying to do exactly what digital HDR does now. We just called it "dodging" and "burning".

    It's just another way to get the image to look like what the photographer envisioned. Love it, or hate it. It's here to stay.

  • Khürt Williams May 24, 2008 08:39 am

    I love it. I don't have a DSLR but I have decided to purchase one ( RAW mode photos, yeah ) jus to that I can make HDR images.

  • Richard May 24, 2008 08:24 am

    It's like ordinary photography: must of it are horrible, some I don't care, few of them are great.

  • Alice Bevan–McGregor May 24, 2008 08:11 am

    I loathe horribly over-processed HDR. Yes, even I can take the sliders in Photomatix and drag them to the exteme. This rarely produces what I'd call a good looking photo. With that much processing, they're not photos any more, they're -images-.

    The goal of HDR, to me, has always been to produce a more natural photo. Digital cameras are limited in their dynamic range, and HDR processing allows me to exceed the natural capabilities of my camera and more closely approximate the behaviour of the human eye.

    The URL I've given here as my website is an example of one of my HDRs. Simple, clean, and most importantly, natural looking.

    The day a sensor with per-texel (RGB triplet) ISO gets invented is the day I no longer need HDR processing.

  • MikLav May 24, 2008 08:08 am

    For me HDR is not at all "a form of art". For me it's a tool to capture too wide tonal range. When appropriately used it can produce good result.

    As with many other photography tools there are many people that abuse it to achieve very obvious visible effect. I don't like most of such photos but this isn't fault of HDR technology - it is just the way many people use it.

  • Dane May 24, 2008 07:29 am

    A friend and I visited a local photography exhibit last week and were struck by how much post-processing folks were doing. Way over the top. If there was a theme for the exhibit, I'd call it "Photographers Who Aren't Confident that Photography Itself is a Sufficiently Artistic Art Form."

    However, the "photos" that really stood out -- in a bad way -- were the HDRs. They looked like they belonged at the mall in the Thomas Kinkade store.

    Having said that, I'm still intrigued at the ongoing discussions about what does and does not constitute photography. My thought is that post-processing is a part of it -- to an extent -- much as darkroom work is part of the film world.

    Dodge, burn, crop, sharpen, cross-process...do what you need to do but don't hide the fact that it's actually a photograph. The folks who get all wrapped around the axle about any work done on a computer need to relax. But by the same token, HDR is far too often taken to an extreme, rendering the photograph unrecognizable as such. Used judiciously, I think it's yet another great tool in our arsenals; I just don't see it used that way very often.

  • John May 24, 2008 07:15 am

    Like any tool, HDR can be used and it can be misused. I think the main reason so many HDR images look like crap is because it's a fad right now, and it's being over-used by inexperienced photographers / artists who just think it looks "cool". HDR is like the clipart of photography. I'm a big fan of the "90% of everything is crap" theory, and it applies very well to HDR images. But I think the 10% that are good are the ones that will survive.

  • phojus May 24, 2008 06:58 am

    I cant help feeling that Mark W up there has hit the nail on the head.

    I have seen some HDR that actually looks ok but is still not to my personal taste. Having said that, I kind of like the bookshop photo above but its a passing interest for me.

    'Good' HDR has wow-factor but wow-factor doesnt ever last very long. Its like my Mother-In-Law's overly sweet chocolate cheesecake, it tastes great at first but quickly makes me feel sick. And leaves the bitter aftertaste of regret.

  • Omid Khalili May 24, 2008 06:44 am

    I've recently been exposed to taking HDR photos and believe that it opens the door to take photos you wouldn't otherwise be able to take. There are certain situations that actually need HDR (dark shadows and bright highlights) because otherwise you'll have not only blown out highlights but also black shadows. A lot of the HDR photos I've seen could processed in RAW with tools like highlights and shadows in aperture to get a more "natural" looking photo, and sometimes even a better photo.

    Then there's the tone mapping tools that give the "painted" effect. I feel like in some cases "in-your-face" you move away from photography and into art. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I think the main reason it "works" for me is that it's new and not something I've seen before. Same goes for when I first saw photos shot with a Lens Baby. In many cases, though, I bet the same effect could be had with photoshop filters.

    The last photo posted up top probably didn't require the HDR workflow for example. I really like the second photo and the photos posted here from stuckincustoms.com because you wouldn't be able to get them without HDR. Some of the other photos at stuckincustoms, no matter how beautiful, don't always require the HDR workflow and would be find with highlights and shadows.

    Since others are posting pics, so will I :)

    Tone mapped: an example

    Dark Shadows and Bright Highights (shot at night with moonlight and build lights): another example

    I wouldn't use HDR photography when I can setup my own lighting, like for portraits. I've tried taking portraits I've shot and tone mapping them, and always like the original better.

  • Nadine May 24, 2008 06:37 am

    Love. Especially that bicycle/bookshop one.

  • Tad May 24, 2008 06:24 am

    I have a hard time distinguishing what is ethical/unethical, with the exception of the obvious (photoshopping something in/out of a picture) with regard to photography as a profession. This excludes marketing and fine art photography.

    What does it matter if I add depth of field in photoshop or in my camera? …or color saturation, dodging/burning…or even HDR?

    I pulled this off of Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photo_manipulation):

    There is a growing body of writings devoted to the ethical use of digital editing in photojournalism. In the United States, for example, the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) have set out a Code of Ethics promoting the accuracy of published images, advising that photographers "do not manipulate images [...] that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects."[7] Infringements of the Code are taken very seriously, especially regarding digital alteration of published photographs, as evidenced in a recent case in which a Pulitzer prize-nominated photographer resigned his post following the revelation that a number of his photographs had been manipulated.

  • Tad May 24, 2008 06:14 am

    John: I agree with you. Especially your reference to art.

  • John May 24, 2008 05:43 am

    I think what matters is, does the person taking the photo like it. After all, most of us shoot because we want to and I seriously doubt few of us shoot because we have to. Personally, I've seen HDR images that leave me breathless such as the one by Chodaboy above, but then I've seen others that I thought were just ho-hum. Isn't this what art is really about though? If we all liked the same thing, life would be boring and olive drab. If you like shooting HDR images and sharing them with your friends, then I say BRAVO, and go for it. If you don't, then don't shoot them. Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder ...err, beholder. :)

  • Damian P. Gadal May 24, 2008 05:32 am

    I like it when done well. It's subjective of course, but so is choosing DOF, shutter speed, filters, lighting, gels, etc.

    Just another tool for the photographer.

  • Tony Bullard May 24, 2008 05:30 am

    The first time you see a good one you're jaw hits the floor...but after that you see that, for the most part, they all look the same. I personally prefer a very mild effect...the one of the Japanese city is way over done in my opinion. Same with the New York one. When things start to look fluffy...it just doesn't interest me any more.

  • Jessie Hockett May 24, 2008 05:14 am

    HDR, if used as a tool and not a popularity ploy, can bring a lot to a photograph. I think it's something that should be used as an enhancement, to bring what's already there OUT, not to shove something in that wasn't there to begin with. My favorite HDR photos end up being those that you can't quite be sure if it's HDR or not, there's just that special something that brings the photo to life.

    HDR can also be a great tool to give dimensionality to a piece (like the 6th example). That's also a great use of it.

    But like was said before, HDR is a tool that when it's overdone ruins the picture. If done right and for the right reasons and with the right composition and subject to start with, it can really bring a lot to the party.

  • Warren May 24, 2008 04:43 am

    HDR is sort of like makeup, it is at its best when you (or the untrained eye at least) don't notice it. When used like this it is more about compensating for technical limitations than anything else. And isn't much different than using gradient filter.

    The over-done HDR I have no taste for.

  • themovie May 24, 2008 04:41 am

    haven't seen too many that i like

  • Ron H May 24, 2008 04:39 am

    HDR is a technique. It has its uses, but can be abused.

    It makes as much sense to ask people what they think about wide-angle lenses.

    The success or failure of the resulting image is determined by the application of the technique. Most images, HDR or not, can be ruined by overzealous use of Contrast or Saturation sliders (or any number of other tools). There currently exists a group of people who really enjoy the Strength slider.

    I find most pleasing the ones where you have to ask "Is that HDR?" (Shots #2 and, to a lesser extent, #6 above)

  • Kent May 24, 2008 04:30 am

    I really like the idea of HDR and I have taken my share (http://www.bulfinology.com/pixel/index.php?x=browse&category=9&pagenum=1)

    I believe people use this too much to make images appear like they belong on a cover of a fantasy novel.

    I generally like them, as they usually make a fair shot a great shot.

  • skip May 24, 2008 04:16 am

    I forget who said it, but I remember it paraphrased as "only half of the work is in taking the picture. the other half happens in the darkroom."

    HDR is a "developing" technique, both as a technique for developing prints, and developing as an art form. The artist (photographer) uses the tools in his palette to achieve the result sought. Sometimes that's to create something unreal, sometimes it's to try and capture things exactly as they appear.

    I think 'light painting' is similar, in that you can use it to make things appear more real, or more unreal. Both are perfectly acceptable, IMO.

    That said, I find the unreal HDRs to be exciting and enticing, because of how differently they feel - just like how using a fish eye presents a totally different view of the world.

  • Prince May 24, 2008 04:01 am

    So what exactly is HDRI? Not a technical definition but just a general conceptual idea... I am still in toddler age of photography so please excuse if it's a stupid question..

    Will someone explain me?

    Thanks

  • Scott Quarforth May 24, 2008 03:59 am

    I am of the opinion that HDR images more accurately depicts what our eyes see. So often, I am frustrated by single images I take because one aspect is overexposed and another is underexposed. Now, I am sure a lot has to do with my lack of experience, but another factor is the inability of the camera to capture the entire range of light presented in the scene.

    I agree with a lot of previous posts, most HDR images are overdone and need to be scaled back. But image #2 (bookstore) and image #6 (statue) are more accurate depictions of the scene. However, images #1 (room) and #5 (water/clouds) are a little overdone.

    The technology is young (again, as others have stated), but has a lot of potential.

  • Adrian May 24, 2008 02:56 am

    While most are done badly with HDR there are some that are shinning works of Photography.

    In response to Damien, much of the same can be said of traditional photography. Well of anything really; there will always be people who overdo something. Being a Connousieur means that you will pick and choose as you like. Griping about it just brings off an air of Elitism and god knows the arts are plagued with enough Elitist bull as it is.

    I love HDR!

  • Ben Brooks May 24, 2008 02:45 am

    It has its time and place. I love HDR as an art form, I love it for things like real estate. I think that the technology is an asset to every photographer. However the technique is often over used, and applied to harshly in situations creating those wonderful surreal looking images.

  • mainfr4me May 24, 2008 02:34 am

    As it's been said, it's another tool/effect. Like anything, it can be overused, done wrong, and at the same time done to a fantastic effect. Like anything, it's about moderation. I've stayed away even though with the dozens of how-to articles out there, I just haven't felt the urge or need. Also, I see some I like, and others are just meh.

  • Jim May 24, 2008 02:33 am

    Pushed to the extreme as many of these sample have, can create a very artsy surreal look. However, don't overlook the fact that one can also go easy on the tone curves and simply adjust enough to get detail in the highlights and shadows enough to give the impression of a full dynamic range the human eye can see. Although the range can not be actually duplicated on paper or a screen, it gives you the impression you are seeing what your brain remembers.
    Although I love to do HDR, I fined I need to do it less often with the introduction of Canon's Highlight Tone Priority.
    I have a few of my own samples at: http://geekologist.com/blog/nggallery/page-83/album-1/gallery-11/

  • Hafizan May 24, 2008 02:29 am

    HDR photography is nice but it is hard not to make it look 'over the top trying to impress others'.
    And it's hard to find a proper simple software to do it.

  • Tad May 24, 2008 02:25 am

    HDR: Art vs. Journalism

    For what it is worth...there was a very interesting article in the NPPA's (http://www.nppa.org) magazine 'News Photogapher' by a John Long titled "HDR Photography, Evolution, & Ethics." Basically John goes through HDR photography and states that "while it is evolving, it is still in it's infancy and compares it to how autochrome was a total mystery and marvel when it was introduced, but over time color became 'normal'. HDR could eventually be like that." He concludes that at the moment it is for fine art photography, but hasn't been around long enough to be embraced by photo journalists.

  • Jared May 24, 2008 02:22 am

    I have to agree with most of the comments already here - well done HDR is few and far between.

    I believe that HDR was designed to be used as a means of enhancing specific pictures when the scenario calls for it. As HDR gives more of a visual impact, it appears to be more popular than other sorts of post processing styles and we are seeing more and more photogs trying it out. Yet, as with any other method of adjustment, correction, filter, or style HDR is also often subject to overuse when first implemented.

    There are also plenty of photogs who feel it must be applied to *every* photo they take. Again, as with any other filter or styles, HDR is not entirely necessary for every picture. In order to make effective use of any style, the subject still must be composed in such a way that the style applied in post processing will actually enhance the subject. Simply adding the same style to every photo does not automatically make the photo more interesting, and in many cases can detract from the subject.

    Good HDR photos should be minimally noticeable. The halo effect has already been brought up - while it creates more of a 'painted' look, in my opinion it really draws away from the photo. For example, I personally don't appreciate that clouds contrast so significantly with the sky that it looks as if a volcano erupted in midst of a thunderstorm though it is still apparently sunny. From my point of view, a well done HDR photo would have a balanced tonal contrast while diffusing evenly - not something that seems to have been significantly dodged or burned. Granted, a balanced tonal contrast is not necessarily easy to implement and can require more processing time, but the results can sometimes be well worth the effort.

    The scenario ultimately boils down to the old adage "to each his own." HDR debates often tend to end up pointed and sometimes heated discussions, but really should not be. As the technology continues to mature (it has already come a long way but still has room for improvement), it will respectively generate more mature constructive criticism and we should see some very interesting photos.

  • Christina May 24, 2008 01:58 am

    I've seen a few well done HDR photographs (Stuck in Customs seems to have mastered it best), but they all are of landscapes/architecture. I've seen a few photographers use HDR on portraits or people shots...which makes them worse than any other filter/effect that I've seen to date.

  • Fireball May 24, 2008 01:57 am

    Hi, i like it, i think is one of the old things better used in todays photography and that can enhance a lot the quality of a photo BUT... don´t push it... everyone is taking it too far making the photos look unnatural. In the post there are 5 HDR photos, from witch I only consider two has a good use of HDR algorithm, the bike and the church ones. The Tone Mapping is used with balance and the photo seems natural with lots of detail. This is for me THE good use of HDR, not the painting like, horrible ones.

  • R. Kneschke May 24, 2008 01:55 am

    The second image, for example, looks great, the fourth one with the NY skyline is too much, overdone. There are great photos out there, but it is also "just" a trend as well that will vanish... Then the look might seem fresher again.

  • small fry May 24, 2008 01:48 am

    The human brain can process a scene with wildly varying light intensity in a way that sensors can not. HDR is a tool designed to bridge that gap between perception and rendition.

    What puzzles me is how HDR is no longer seen as a tool, but as an effect. Personally, I find that it's usually a nasty effect. Too much heavy-handed absurd colouration and clumsy halos, but without being surreal enough to make a statement about surreality.

    It reminds me of my elderly father making a brochure for his local interest group - 8 different typefaces in 4 colours and various sizes, each page with a different fancy margin. Just because he had the software tool that could, doesn't mean that he should! HDR and enthusiasm are a heady combination - without a judicious eye and artistic purpose it can all go horribly wrong.

  • moi May 24, 2008 01:47 am

    Meant to say-'PHOTO PAINTING'

  • moi May 24, 2008 01:46 am

    To me it's like 'photo paining' and the reaction is only personal taste.

  • marcus May 24, 2008 01:45 am

    I don't think good HDR is any rarer that really good photography in general. The problem, I think, is that poorly done HDR stands out so much more than poor composition or exposure. Even other over-used techniques like cross processing or selective desaturation don't stand out the way that HDR does. It's just another tool to create images. Some people use it to create visually stunning works of art, and some people use it in attempt to make an otherwise bad photo good.

  • AC May 24, 2008 01:45 am

    Have mixed feelings about HDR - I like the concept but it is overused and when done improperly makes the scene look fake as opposed to the effect of making the scene look like it seems to the eye.

    Personally, I think the less you manipulate the photo, the better it is.

  • reclusivemonkey May 24, 2008 01:35 am

    1, 2: OK
    3, 4, 5: Awful
    6: Perfect Example of HDR done well.

    Like most people commenting here I think when its done well, it looks great but all too often its done poorly and looks bad. Its flavour of the month at the moment though so don't expect it to go away anytime soon.

  • murr May 24, 2008 01:35 am

    I like the first two examples above, and the last, but the others are not my cup of tea. The third example is somewhat interesting at which to look. As others mention, for me, it is all about balance. I know a amateur photographer who shoots only with a fish eye lens. Out of maybe fifty photos in his book which he carries around, there are maybe three which I like. You open the book to the first one and think, "wow, that's pretty cool." When you get to the third pic, you are wondering why there is no balance. The word extreme comes to mind, and no one want too much on the end of the extreme.

  • Pasha May 24, 2008 01:34 am

    HDR when done right can make the image look great. There's times when you don't even realize HDR right away, but it helps the image pop.
    But, when someone uses HDR for the sake of using it, and nothing more, the result looks terrible.

  • Tombo May 24, 2008 01:34 am

    I think HDR can be great, but I also think that a lot of people over-do it. Personally, I'm not a fan of the clown colors (as i call them) like in #3,4,5 in the thread.

    Photo 6 definitely dropped my jaw, and is a great example of a well done HDR that pops off the page.

    #1 to me looks more like a painting than a photo, but is still a great image.

    #2 is the type of HDR that I personally like the best. Subtle use of the technology to make an image more interesting, while still looking like a photograph.

    It all boils down to personal preference, but that's my take on the subject. :)

  • Navneeth May 24, 2008 01:32 am

    Isn't it "impure photography" once you even adjust the brightness or contrast in a photo-editing program? Well, I wouldn't say I really like all HDR images...some of them make the scene/subject look unreal. But I do love the ones by mor and J.Salmoral posted here.

  • Mary B May 24, 2008 01:30 am

    I don't mind it when used appropriately. I think its an artist technique that can be added to certain images. But like any technique, it can be over used.

  • Jimmy Morris May 24, 2008 01:20 am

    I think HDR is great if it is used in the right context. For example the last two examples that were posted on this article are perfect. Once the photo because over processed I think it looses the original intent of the photographer.

  • David Barto May 24, 2008 01:19 am

    Just like Keito, I feel that good HDR is rare.

    Or 'A medium rarely well done', to steal the phrase about television.

    Most HDR tend towards a 'painterly' effect which is not the natural world. When I do HDR, it is to recreate the scene, including highlights and shadows that my eye could see. Since my eye is much more sensitive than the CCD of the camera, I'm merely trying to restore what was lost in the photo.

    When we get 32bit capable monitors, HDR will be easier to display properly. Until then, I'll do them when the scene requires it, and not otherwise.

  • Seim Effects May 24, 2008 01:18 am

    HDR is great. It's needs to be understood though that they are not all created equal. One type is very string dynamic range (like most of these shots here) very cool, but defiantly gives a illustrative look.

    ANother type is a miler look. At Seim Photography we do HDR portraits and wedding images in many of our sessions. I tend to use a bit milder look, still giving that high dynamic range, but making an image a little more like the eye would see.

    Most people who make HDR images do not know how to edit it properly, and since editing is key with HDR I think they get turned off to it.

  • Mikel May 24, 2008 01:17 am

    I think it is just like any other photography technique in that it can be done very well by those with the artistic vision who use it create rather than the masses who use it to repair photos that are terrible from the start. You see them all the time, the Dave Hill's, selective focus, even as far back to the fake lens flares when Photoshop was young (did we seriously think those looked good?). I've seen incredible usage for all of the aforementioned, and some really terrible ones that make your eyes bleed.

  • Seim Effects May 24, 2008 01:16 am

    HDR is great. It's nees to be understood though that they are not all created equal. One type is very string dynamic range (like most of these shots here) very cool, but definaltly gives a illustrative look.

    ANother type is a miler look. At Seim Photography we do HDR portraits and wedding images in many of our sessions. I tend to use a bit milder look, still giving that high dynamic range, but making an image a little more like the eye would see.

    Most people who make HDR images do not know how to edit it properly, and since editing is key with HDR I think they get rtruned off to it.

  • Stephen May 24, 2008 01:14 am

    Some HDR's are really cool but others look stupid to me when over processed.

  • Henrique May 24, 2008 01:13 am

    I sometimes think of properly made HDR images like a landscape shot that used hyperfocus to mimic our natural view of a scene, but just like Keito said "Most people tend to use the tone mapping too much - giving you ugly halo’s… and more than once have I seen comments like “wow, how do you get those glowing edges in the sky?” which really feels like a stab to my face - it’s ugly and completely beats the purpose of the high dynamic range such a photo is supposed to have."

  • Dr Peter J Venter May 24, 2008 01:06 am

    HDR is a baby that should be given time to mature. Personally, I love this baby. But then, I am reading every book on the topic I can lay my hands on. And the more I read the more I realise how little I know about the science and math involved. This is one leg of photography where knowledge will surpass creativity.... for now.

    HDR is not a cure all for all those situations that you could not deal with in terms of luminisity. The eye of the human will not be fooled into accepting the unnatural... as can be seen in some of the pics above. Kudus to the first 2, though.

  • Mark May 24, 2008 01:05 am

    I think HDR works with certain photos and sujects. I've seen to many that just don't work as HDR. I defiantly believe it is overdone. Likewise, I think many technigues are over used without any real thought.

  • Sam May 24, 2008 01:04 am

    Well, for me your question sounds like:

    "What do you think of Nikon Images?
    Do you like Nikon images?
    What do you like or dislike about them?"

    HDR is a technology, just like the camera you use. You can use HDR, or your Nikon, or Canon, or whatever technology to produce crappy images, or you can use it to produce good images.

    Saying "I dislike HDR images" is like saying "I dislike Nikon images".

    What you probably wanted to ask, is what your readers think about exaggerated colors you get due to some extreme tonemapping?

  • Al May 24, 2008 01:01 am

    Like most of the comments so far, I feel that there are very few that do it right, and when it's done right, it's pretty impressive. But for the most part, it's a new "gimmick" that way too many people do improperly and I'd rather not see it.

    So, yes, I like it, but only when done well which is a very small percentage of the time.

  • Keito May 24, 2008 12:58 am

    Really good HDR photo's are rare... hence my general feeling of dislike towards them.

    Most people tend to use the tone mapping too much - giving you ugly halo's... and more than once have I seen comments like "wow, how do you get those glowing edges in the sky?" which really feels like a stab to my face - it's ugly and completely beats the purpose of the high dynamic range such a photo is supposed to have.

    HDR is supposed to mimic the natural view of things, in other words display the scene in a somewhat different exposure per part and not in general, which is basically what a camera can do. Most people use it differently though, which gives bad results.

  • Mark Whitaker May 24, 2008 12:57 am

    I've never been a purist when it comes to photography: as far as I'm concerned anything's fair game if it results in a visually appealing end product.

    Unfortunately, HDR doesn't: the images all too often look ugly and unrealistic. That's my objection. I'm sure HDR technology will improve over time (and with it the results), but for now I'm afraid I hate it.

  • Michael May 24, 2008 12:57 am

    Like any creative art, HDR is appreciated more by some than others. I recently did a very unscientific study, produced 4 versions of the same images that were tone-mapped differently. One was "Tome COmpressed, the other 3 had various levels of Strength applied which gave them an increasingly "painterly" effect. I then showed the 4 to various associates and friends. This group varied from medical practice, to gallery owners and managers, to art buyers, other photographers, and several friends. The results were that the majority (over 50%) of the people preferred the Detail Enhanced version with only mild painterly effects.

  • Smitty May 24, 2008 12:54 am

    For me, it's a lot like a nice juicy filet; I like one occasionally, but don't want to eat it every night.

    I've seen the occasional HDR image that has really dropped my jaw, and I've seen one's that really make me shrug my shoulders. For example, I love three of the sample HDR's (in the thread), am neutral on one, and dislike two.

    Oh, and I'm lying... I really could eat a nice steak every day...

  • KKL May 24, 2008 12:52 am

    I think there are different way of looking at it.
    First, the most basic idea of why HDR is to capture more dynamic range than a single photo from your sensor can get.
    the sensor usually handle plus or minus 2EV only, so that's why it often comes out with very dark shadow or washed out highlight. This can be fix by lighting, but in some case, you CAN'T light things up in that scale (example like the time square shot above) so HDR comes in to place.

    But on the other hand, it is very depends on how the photographer process the shots, it can be made to be very realistic, or very un-realistic. it's very depends on the setting.

    I dont' think there is fake or not fake there. when it is made to realistic, it is not fake, it's actually what our eye should see (our eye has way bigger dynamic range than the sensor). it is fake when is has it's unrealism. but at the same time you can call that a style. who said cross process or film noir is "real".

    that's my 2 cents!

  • greg.newman May 24, 2008 12:47 am

    I have mixed feelings about HDR, even though I've used it myself a few times. I feel if it's done tastefully without unrealistic saturations and halos then I like them. It's a very useful tool or technique, whichever way you want to look at it. I also think it will evolve pretty quickly over the next few years as software gets better and cheaper.

  • Jennifer Zandstra May 24, 2008 12:47 am

    I love HDR... I think it's just another trick in the bag to make beautiful art :) Though I agree with Damien, I think alot of people overdo it.

  • Damien Franco May 24, 2008 12:40 am

    I'm really mixed on the whole HDR thing. While I have seen a few that I like, I've seen more that I don't. I just think most people really overdo it.

  • his4ever May 24, 2008 12:40 am

    I like it and I dislike it. I feel there are times for it,.. but sometimes I feel it is over done. I like to use it for those times where I am not getting enough light,,, but I do not want people to know it was done in HDR. There are some very beautiful artwork done that I have seen that I think HDR is justified in the over HDR sense. :D

    ~His4ever~

  • Eric Jensen May 24, 2008 12:38 am

    I appreciate HDR images as a new form of art and photography. As far as me liking the photos, well, it all depends on the the photo is of. For instance, with the above images, I like the bookstore and cathedral images, but the images of Times square and Chicago I don't like. To me, thee two images look to "cartoon-y", or they were drawn with colored pencils.

    I still like to look at these photos, because the detail is amazing, but I don't see myself using this technique in my photos.

  • Tom May 24, 2008 12:35 am

    I am of split opinions on this. There are many, many HDR photos that are works of beauty. I have always admired much of Stuck In Customs' art. But then there are others that are just not to my taste.

    The line I draw between what kind of HDR I like and do not like is not a hard line. I like HDR photos that appear "real", and dislike ones that look like paintings or drawings. The first image by hybrid, the second by Mor (bcnbits), and the sixth by J. Salmoral are examples of this. I think all three are very well done HDR images. I also like the third by Stuck In Customs.

    Ultimately, the kind of HDR I like would not cause a person to stop and question whether or not they are looking at a photograph.

  • JoBu May 24, 2008 12:33 am

    I love HDR photography. Its the next thing I really want to get into.

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