HDR Processing Vs. Human Processing

PHOTO COMPARISON HERE – The first images in each comparison is the HDR Image, and the second is the human image.

By now, you’ve certainly heard the buzzword, HDR.  It means High Dynamic Range and it refers to the range of light that a camera processor has to balance, in order to deliver a good exposure.  The purpose of this post isn’t to explain the mysteries of HDR, so to keep it simple, I’m going to give a very brief description of it.

  • A single photo has to balance the brightest range of light and the darkest range of light.  This is what the automatic mode of any camera is doing when it creates a picture.
  • In order for a single photo to balance those ranges of light, it must compromise each range of light by choosing to expose for the middle range.
  • The process of HDR is to take several exposures (2-12+), from very dark to very bright.  This ensures that the same subject (no matter how dark or light) will be exposed for that middle range.
  • Then a computer program fuses all the exposures into a single image –  using the middle range from each exposure to create an equally exposed photo.  There should be no bright or dark spots.  Everything should be equal.

There you have it; HDR in a nutshell.  HDR software applications are available everywhere and are very inexpensive.  A good photographer that knows how to shoot and tweak the HDR software settings, can often do a terrific job.  Unfortunately, many real estate agents are giving this a shot too, and the photos often look ghostly, or cartoonish.  It’s no their fault.  It’s the nature of HDR.  You really have to know what you’re doing, to do it well.  And let’s be honest about it… a cartoonish photo is usually better than the over exposed and underexposed images you see all over the MLS. But this isn’t what I’m supposed to be writing about.

Earlier this year, a national HDR photography company photographed a home in San Diego, and the customer was very unhappy.  PreviewFirst was hired to photograph the property a few days later (about the same time of day and same weather conditions).  We thought it would be an interesting post to show you the comparison.  As always, you’re thoughts and opinions are welcome.  Please tell us which you prefer and why.

HDR Procesing Vs. Human Processing; what’s the difference?  HDR images are created with software and “real photography” is created by a Human.  I know that sounds argumentative (hdr vs. real).  I just don’t know how else to put it.  HDR relies on a software program to determine what a properly exposed image looks like and real photography relies on a human being to determine that.  There’s a place for both, so let’s not make this into a discussion about which is better.  We just want to show the difference, with regard to this photo-shot.

The first images in each comparison is the HDR Image, and the second is the human image.  🙂

You can review the photo comparison here.  Please tell us what you think.  

HDR Photo  vs. Real Photo







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