What is High Dynamic Range (HDR) and How Does it Work??


If you are a smartphone user, then you must have seen an option of HDR in your camera app. And it definitely would have sent you wondering ‘What is HDR and how does it work.’ So if you want to know about it, then you are at the right place. HDR is the short form of High Dynamic Range. Before jumping into HDR let me first sprinkle you with some knowledge about dynamic range. (Don’t confuse dynamic range with HDR. Although they both are similar)

What is Dynamic Range?

Sometimes, there are two parts in a photo. One part of the picture has high brightness range, and the other part is dull. In most cases, your camera will capture a photo which will show almost no details.

You will not be able to see any detail whatsoever in any of the two parts. This happens not because of exposure but because of the dynamic range of your camera which is not that wide enough.

What I mean is that your camera is not able to set the perfect exposure that can capture the difference between the brightest and the darkest parts of the frame.

What is HDR and how does it work?

HDR or high dynamic range comes to rescue us in such situations. What HDR does is it takes three photos of the same frame. The first picture taken by HDR will be the same as that of normal Dynamic range. The second photo will be highly underexposed. The brightness or the exposure of the photo will be set to the lowest. The third picture will be highly exposed meaning that the exposure of the photo will be set to the highest. In the end, HDR or high dynamic range combines all these three photographs into one single frame.

Now that you know the working principle of HDR let me tell you when to use it.

When to use HDR?

I would not recommend you, using HDR in every photograph you click but they are some instances in which you must use HDR.

Sometimes when you are clicking a photo of a person or an object and a lot of light is coming from the background. When you click this kind of photo without HDR, then the result will be horrible. The subject will show no detail, and the picture will look dark. Such scenarios mostly arise when you are shooting landscapes and portraits.

You should only use HDR when in the frame there are two different type of light levels.

When not to use HDR?

You should never use HDR while shooting moving subjects. As I told you before that HDR takes three photographs of the same subject, so by the time your camera takes three photos, your subject would have already moved. This might result in a blurred image.

Try not using HDR while shooting low light photos. The photo that HDR takes with the lowest brightness settings (Darkest photo) can result in an overall dark picture when all the three photos are combined.

Additional tip: When you are using HDR mode keep your device still and don’t move it for 1 to 2 seconds. If you move your device, your final picture can come out blurred.

Thanks for reading our blog. If you have any queries about ‘What is HDR and how does it work?’ Then please comment down below. We will be grateful to help and don’t forget to subscribe our newsletter for latest updates.


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