Let’s have the HDR Talk. Much like parents with the “Birds and the Bees Talk,” this is a talk that photographers don’t like to have. Why? Because photographers either love HDR photos or hate them with the heat of 1000 suns.
First things first, what is HDR? HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, and, to put it simply, it is a way to create an image with a wide (or “dynamic”) range of lighting, much as the human eye sees different lighting. Some photographers like it because you can get amazingly colorful images that can just pop (much as we saw with this video). Other photographers also hate it because it can get overused easily, where colors become fictional and the image doesn’t look like it came from the real world. As a friends of mine likes to say: “HDR is easy. Good HDR is hard.” Don’t believe it? Look in the Flickr pool and you’ll see.
Let’s look at Matthew’s picture above. I both like this photo and don’t at the same time. I like it because the HDR gives the image a dramatic appearance and gives the scene a fascinating painting look. What would normally be a boring shot is given new life with the HDR effect. On the flip side, these colors are not real, and they look like something out of a fantasy world. Even the people have a weird coloring to them. Is this a photo or some sort of digital artwork? The double take keeps me from fully liking this photo.
I know it sounds like I’m being overly harsh on Matthew’s photo. But really I’m not; I’ve met people who love HDR and people who want nothing to do with it. It’s important to remember the photo is art, and art is subjective. To each their own, as it were. So, what’s your take on HDR: good or evil?