With so many photo-enhancing features available on today’s smartphones, such as filters and editing tools, it can be tricky to know when to use them. By taking advantage of one powerful tool, High Dynamic Range (or HDR), the photos you take with your phone have the potential to be more realistic and clearer than ever before.
HDR helps take high quality, realistic photos by combining multiple shots into one photo that highlights the best parts of each shot. It allows an image to retain detail, even when taken in very bright or dark lighting situations, and will keep the picture from appearing “blown out” or completely black from shadows. When there are very light and very dark areas in the frame at the same time, HDR will help expose both the highlights and shadows.
Use HDR when taking photos in the sun, landscapes or low-lit scenes – but avoid using HDR for photos with moving subjects, as it increases the chance of a blurry photo.
HDR isn’t automatic — the setting on your phone must be switched “on” to take advantage of the feature. Fortunately, most camera phones with HDR allow you to see a captured image with the HDR setting on, and one with the HDR setting off, so you can compare the two and choose the photo you prefer. Doing this regularly will help you learn when to choose HDR as a photo enhancer.
The main purpose of HDR is to end up with an image as similar to what you see through your own eyes as possible. To learn more about HDR, here’s a YouTube video from the “As Fast as Possible” TechQuickie learning series: Understanding HDR (High Dynamic Range)
HDR is available through most high-end smartphones, although it may be referred to as something unique by each brand. For instance, Samsung labels the HDR setting as “Rich Tone,” while LG calls it “Dynamic Tone.”