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When to use HDR in your photos and when not?

HDR, what is it?

“High dynamic range”, HDR according to its acronym in English. The dynamic range of an image is all the levels of color or light that we can capture in that shot. From the darkest to the lightest. For example, if we are going to capture a photograph of a sunset with a very strong light source in the back plane, and a dark foreground, like a cave, here we will need an extreme dynamic range for everything to be seen. If the camera does not have a great dynamic range, either the Sun will not be seen well, or the cave will not be seen well. To solve this problem, the cameras include what is called HDR. Instead of one shot, multiple shots are taken, with different exposure settings. Some of these shots highlight the dark elements, and others the light elements. All the shots are combined, and you get a photo with a high dynamic range.

Photograph of @jotalcubo

When to use it?

As long as we have extreme elements in the image in terms of light level, it is good to use HDR. In many nature photos, or taken in broad daylight, it is good to use HDR. When shooting photos in which an important light source appears it is also good to use HDR. In general, as long as in the photo we cannot see everything that we can see with our eyes.

When not to use it?

We have said that several captures are made and they are combined into one. That means that the mobile will take longer to take a photo in HDR, for all the captures it takes. Depending on what you do (it can be 3 or more) it will take more or less. If we are going to shoot a photo of our dog, and we need to take a photo very quickly, we should not use HDR. HDR is for still photos, and we will have to have the highest possible stability. The subjects of our photo must not move. If we are going to take a selfie, it may not be ideal to use HDR either, unless we can stand for enough seconds without moving. If you are at a concert and want to quickly capture a selfie, it will not be the best choice.