Sunday, September 25, 2011

To HDR or Not to HDR? That is the question


Yesterday, I announced a Mac version of my best-selling iHDR how-to app.

Sure, I enjoy creating HDR images, and I suggest to all my workshops students that they master HDR imaging.

However, I always stress that as good and as powerful and as much fun as HDR can be, there is a time and a place for HDR. Here's why: HDR can ruin the mood of a scene. And after all, the mood or feeling, is the most important part of an image.

I took the photograph that opens this post at Mt. Rainier last week. I could have used HDR to open up the shadows, but I feel as though the shadows create the mood of this peaceful and beautiful setting.

Remember:
Shadows are the soul of a photograph.
Shadows add a sense of depth and dimension to a photograph.
Shadows can be your friend.

So embrace HDR technology, but always keep the mood of the image in mind - first and foremost.

I teach HDR on almost all of my workshops.

Explore the light,
Rick

P.S. I'll be talking more about the mood of a photograph in my creativeLive class in October. Register today for this free class.

7 comments:

JimmyD said...

A very good post Rick. It's all about vision and what you're trying to convey in the image and sometimes HDR does not apply.

Catherine Hall Studios said...

couldn't agree with you more! It is great to master all technologies phtography has to offer and learn how to use them selectively and sparingly based on the requirements of each specific image. You first need to recognize your goal / vision and then bring in the appropriate tools to support it. Congrats on the new ap!!!

Catherine Hall Studios said...

couldn't agree with you more! It is great to master all technologies phtography has to offer and learn how to use them selectively and sparingly based on the requirements of each specific image. You first need to recognize your goal / vision and then bring in the appropriate tools to support it. Congrats on the new ap!!!

Andrew Keane said...

A timely reminder that no one style or method is going to do everything. I like HDR, (but Im not that good at it) especially Trey Ratcliffe's stuff. So I usually shoot bracketed. I can always just use one frame if HDR is not wanted.

Kevin D. Brown said...

Rick...Great point. Kind of like going to the paint store and picking from a pallet of colors. It's just a matter of style and taste. Never just one right answer

Martin Aggerholm said...

You're absolutely right Rick. To me, a perfect implementation of HDR in a photograph is where you don't notice it. I see many examples out there where it seems like HDR has been utilized just for the sake of utilizing it. HDR can just as easily break a photograph as it can make it. If HDR is the first three letters that pops into your mind when you look at a photograph then there's a big risk that what should be considered as the center of interest will simply become overshadowed.

Darren White said...

Beautiful image always stand out. Your aloud to hav blacks and white not just shades of grey.