The HDR mode is already a feature found in almost all camera applications that come by default or that we can install on our smartphones.
However, there are probably many users who are not entirely clear about what it is and what results they can achieve with this option.
So here we explain exactly what the HDR mode is and what it is for.
What is HDR mode?
The acronym HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. Before going on, we must point out that we are not talking about anything new but about a technique that has been applied for a long time in the world of photography.
This technique is traditionally based on the superposition of several negatives in such a way that images are obtained with great sharpness.
What eliminates the HDR mode is the high contrast of light between almost white illuminated areas and almost black dark areas.
The dynamic range name is due to the fact that the resulting image changes the amount of light it shows between the brightest and darkest areas.
What our smartphone camera does to achieve this effect is to shoot several times with different light range (underexposed, very saturated and normal) and then merge them into a single result without saturating the luminous parts and highlighting the dark areas.
Until a few years ago this effect was something that could only be achieved by software, like Photoshop, and it was necessary to have three photos with different brightness to create the effect. Then came the smartphones with their built-in cameras and powerful processors.
When to use HDR mode?
The HDR function is especially useful when photographing areas with high contrast lighting. What if the scene, or part of it, has fairly homogeneous lighting?
In this case the result may be a little surrealistic as in the image above. The important thing to use this mode is the light and that it has very different intensities in the whole scene. The best situations to get good results are:
- Landscapes with lights and shadows
- Counter light portraits
In the next image we have a street with shadows and a very bright sky. You can see how with the HDR mode the trees and walls have much more character than in the normal photo.
This is a clear example in which the HDR usually offers good results is those in which there is a strong focus of natural light, such as a sky with sun and clouds, genre that offers great results, but can also be artificial.
When not to use HDR mode?
The HDR mode is hardly noticeable without high light contrasts. It will not be useful at all in images where a tone predominates and which offer a uniform luminosity.
In scenes with movement the results are even worse, because if there is something moving the image will be blurred. The situations in which the use of HDR is not recommended are:
- Homogeneous brightness or tone
- Bright colors
- Scenes with movement
How to locate the HDR mode?
Obviously, we will find it by accessing the camera application and the Settings menu. However, although in most cases it will be identified as HDR, in other cases it may have a different name like Rich Tone in Samsung, Dynamica Tone in LG or Photo Capture Mode in HTC.
But there is an increasing tendency to standardize the mode and nowadays in almost all camera applications you will find it directly on the screen with the automatic mode.
There are also numerous applications that have this mode and can give different results to the default application that your smartphone has.