HDR Photography is achieved by capturing different exposures of the same scene, and then combining these images using specialist photo editing software, to create a finished photo that has a greater range of luminance that can be seen by just one exposure (or even our own eyes).
A traditional camera exposure will produce areas which are over and underexposed, resulting in a loss of detail within this area. HDR Photography prevents this loss of detail, but filling in the under and overexposed areas.
Professional HDR Photography
In Photography, the dynamic range is measured as stops (EV), which span from the darkest to brightest areas which can be seen. An increase of one stop (EV) doubles the amount of light entering the lens. Photographers use different stops to take multiple photos of the same scene, some of which are normally exposed (with a mixture of under and overexposed areas), underexposed (showing detail in the dark areas/shadows) or overexposed (showing details in the brightest areas of the photo).
Just about any camera, which allows for manual adjustment of the exposure, can be used to create HDR photos. A number of cameras are now making the HDR process even easier, by building in an ‘auto exposure bracketing’ (AEB) function, which makes it much faster to take a greater dynamic range of a single scene. Some cameras now even have HDR features automatically built in, which captures a HDR image and provides a single finished jpeg.
Smart Phone HDR Photography
HDR Photography using smart phones has also grown in popularity, with many apps now available for avid smart phone HDR photographers. These apps use the same basic HDR Photography principles to synthesis a finished HDR Photo, without the often labourious time and skill required to manufacture these images manually.