Is your smartphone an HDR camera phone? When next you open your phone’s camera, or any digital camera, look through the options and settings. You might see something like HDR, or HDR mode. That means it is. Have you ever wondered what it means or what it does? This is a brief primer and tutorial on how to take pictures with your HDR camera phone, be it an Android smartphone or an Apple iPhone.
HDR in full means High Dynamic Range, and if you recall, we mentioned it among common phone spec acronyms. High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging is a feature already available in standard photography, but recently introduced to camera phones like iPhone and Android devices (or with the use of camera apps). HDR is supposed to make your pictures look better, but this depends on when and how you use it.
With HDR camera phone, when you snap your picture, it splits out to one regular photo and one HDR photo. When you turn HDR mode on, your phone takes a little longer to take a picture. This is because, it is actually taking three pictures, rather than just one.
What your HDR camera phone can do
HDR is designed to help you take better-looking photos, especially in certain situations. These are scenarios where you should try using HDR:
1.) For taking landscape photos, HDR mode is ideal, because you get to capture all the details, both for the sky, and land.
2.) Close shots under sunlight needs the use of HDR. From a previous article on how to take better pictures, you will learn that good lighting is one of the most important criteria for taking good pictures. However, when there’s too much light, especially on someone’s face, like harsh sunlight, it can cause dark shadows, bright glare, and other unwanted characteristics. HDR can even that out and make the subject look better.
3.) HDR is also good for low light conditions or back-lit situations, low-light and back-lit scenes. HDR can brighten up the foreground without washing out the well-lit portions of your photo.
When not to use HDR
Sometimes HDR actually makes your pictures look worse. For example: In moving photos or photos where your subject is in motion, the HDR output will be blurry. If you recall, HDR takes three pictures, and combines them so if your subject moves between the shots, the final picture won’t look good. HDR mode is not good for High Contrast scenes, and also scenes with very vivid colours.
When you start using it and get accustomed to using it, you’ll discover HDR is an amazing tool for capturing better pictures. Here is a video that teaches you more about HDR Imaging, so you can put your HDR camera phone to better use.
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