Should You Be Using HDR Photography with Your Cell Phone?

Whenever I am out and about with people and we are taking pictures; me with my bridge camera (Canon SX 50HS) and others with their smartphones, I often ask if they are shooting HDR images. A few will know what I am speaking of, but many are puzzled.

To put it simply, and HDR (High Dynamic Range) image is one that is composed of three separate photos that are then combined to increase the “degree” of colors and details. Many smartphones can be set to do this automatically, i.e. they take one picture focusing on the shadows, one exposed for the mid-tones and a last exposed for the highlights. These are then combined to render details in all three exposures. The theory is that this will provide the most color and details.

This logically leads to the next question: “Well, how much better will the HDR photos be?” An article written by Eric Renno for Photofocus answers that question.

If you are interested in the technicalities, please read the details in the article noted above. For anyone interested in photography, I believe you will find it interesting especially if you like to edit your photographs after you take them.

SUMMARY – Shooting in HDR generally makes a difference and in most cases you will get “better” pictures that way. Keep in mind, however that the files will be larger so storage space may be at a premium.

NOTE – My wife’s iPhone captures HDR, but also keeps the mid-tone image as well. In such scenarios, it is then up to the user to decide which photo to keep. Your smart phone might do the same thing so it would be a good idea to review them periodically and delete those pictures which are not significantly different. The only drawback is that it is sometimes difficult to discern this on the small smart phone screen. It is still worth a try if your phone storage is pressed for space.

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