Common HDR Photography Questions (Part 1) - Before & After HDR Processing

Over the last two years, when discussing my photography with friends, family, coworkers and strangers a few questions seem to come up over and over.  They usually want to know: 

* What is HDR? 

* Why I like HDR? 

* How is HDR photography created?

So I thought I would answer these three questions via installments, starting with the question of, why do I like HDR?

I realize some people don’t like HDR photographs.  Believe me, many people have told me this over time.  Some people just hate it.  Most of these people are polite about it, while others are more blunt, but there is a specific segment of the population who don’t like it.  Their main reason for disliking it seems to be around the fact that they don’t look like traditional photographs.  I get that and understand the appeal of traditional images.  And frankly, some people just don’t like change. 

The vast majority of the people who look at my photos give me very nice feedback.  I think HDR photographs draw you in with their vivid colors, intense details, high contrast, and warm feel.  There is just something about a great HDR photograph that catches my eye and draws me in that a normal photography of the same subject doesn’t typically do.    Like all types of photography, there can be terrible HDR pictures and I’ve created my share of them.   HDR photography like anything else takes practice before you get to a point where the pictures are consistently good.  I don’t always create great HDR images, but I think I create pretty good pictures on a consistent basis. 

Below you can see two “Before & After” pictures (and their final full HDR versions).  The left side of each picture is the original photograph and the right side is the final processed HDR picture.  In both examples, I think the HDR version is a much more interesting image with more detail in both the light and dark areas of the photographs.  Of course, that is just my opinion.  Some people love Black and White photography.  They specialize in that form photography.  Some photographers will focus on fashion photography.  In the end, it comes down to the photographer’s personal style and what type of photography keeps them interested.  For me, HDR, Underwater, and Sports photography keep me excited about the art of photography.    

Baltimore Harbor - Before & After HDR Processing

 Full HDR version of Baltimore Harbor

Full HDR version of Baltimore Harbor

 Roberto Clemente Bridge in Pittsburgh - Before & After HDR processing

Roberto Clemente Bridge in Pittsburgh - Before & After HDR processing

 Full HDR version of Roberto Clemente Bridge in Pittsburgh

Full HDR version of Roberto Clemente Bridge in Pittsburgh