What are HDR images?
HDR images are a new kind of photo made up of three photos (or several photos) merged together.
The pictures were taken using three different exposures – one shot each of the scene as it appears in normal daylight, when the shutter speed is set to the shortest possible time, say 1/60 of a second; then another shot when the exposure is extended to 5 seconds, and the third shot when the exposure is extended to 10 seconds.
Each picture is taken from the same location but the three shots are taken slightly later or earlier.
Merging these separate photos together creates a unique image that captures the ‘magic moment’ in the scene. This can be a spectacular view of a waterfall, a beautiful sunset, a rainbow or a stunning cloud formation.
In fact, merging three separate images together can be used in so many ways that it really is almost limitless.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of HDR photography?
• You can use all 3 exposures in one go.
• You can combine images from several different cameras.
• The final image is much more detailed than a standard single image taken with the same settings.
• The image is created in post-production, so you can fine-tune the results until you are happy with them.
• When taken properly, the image has a cinematic feel.
• It can be quite difficult to merge the images together.
• HDR images are not suited to everyone.
• The images look rather unnatural.
• The image looks flat.
• The finished image can look grainy.
• HDR images are expensive.
Can I edit my photos taken with a camera phone?
If your camera phone has a large, high quality sensor, you should be able to edit the images, although you will need to save the edited image in a suitable format.
Most smartphones have a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels. This is about the same as most digital compact cameras and so the image should be easy to edit.
However, you will need to know how to use some computer software, such as Photoshop or Lightroom.
Your smartphone will display the images in a very basic format and it will be difficult to adjust the colours, contrast and brightness of the images.
For this reason, it is a good idea to shoot your HDR images in RAW format. This means that you will be able to make the image adjustments using a computer, rather than using a smartphone.
A good camera phone will also have a ‘punch’ setting, which will allow you to adjust the exposure quickly and easily.
To get the best results, try to keep the same exposure settings on each of the three images.
For example, if you are photographing a landscape, you might start with an exposure of 1/60, take a second image at the same time setting the exposure to 5 seconds, and finally, take the last image at the same exposure time as the previous two images.
It is possible to take multiple shots, although this will result in more images.
However, if you are taking lots of photos, it can be quicker to edit the single HDR image.
How do I get the most out of my smartphone?
The first thing to check is whether your phone has a high quality front-facing camera.
If your smartphone has a good front facing camera, you should be able to take great selfie portraits and selfies.
To ensure you get the best results, try to keep your subjects still.
Some phones have a wide-angle lens and will automatically correct for distortion and zoom.
Other phones have an fisheye lens and will allow you to take shots that are not in a conventional format.
Another option is to take a series of images using the camera on your phone, and then, in your photo editing software, create an HDR image by combining the images into one.
Shoot HDR images using iPhone
HDR images are made from multiple exposures. They have a greater dynamic range than single-exposure photos taken with normal cameras.
The iPhone has several features to help you shoot great HDR photos, including a bracketing feature that lets you shoot four exposures in quick succession.
Here’s how to use bracketing on the iPhone:
Open the Camera app on your iPhone. Tap the camera icon in the upper left corner of the screen to open the app.
Tap the Menu button at the bottom of the screen. Tap the Bracket option.
Select one of the bracketing options. The three choices are “Normal”, “Wide” and “Long”.
Choose the number of exposures you want in your HDR image and tap OK. In the preview that appears, tap the OK button to confirm your choice.
To capture your exposure, press and hold the shutter button. The app displays the progress bar when the photos are being captured.
When the images are captured, you will see the number of photos you took appear in the preview. Tap the OK button to finish capturing the images.
Your iPhone will now create a folder called “Bracketed Photos”. To view your photo, tap the arrow next to the folder. Your HDR image will then appear in the Gallery app.
To delete the images, tap on the images in the Gallery app. Tap on the trashcan icon at the top left corner of the screen. Tap the Delete option. You will need to confirm this action by tapping Yes.
If you do not want to save the images, tap Cancel.