HDR: how much is too much?

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AlbertoSimonetti
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Posted Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:08AM
Like so many of us I've been using HDR for more than a decade. In fact I've been shooting nothing but HDR images for years now.
As a landscape photographer it enables me to deal with high-contrast scenes when my camera cannot record the whole dynamic range or whenever I want to extend this capability. To this extent it is a way of creating a final image which is more similar to what the human eye would have actually seen.
And yet HDR is still controversial. The National Geographic for one does not accept it. We have all seen images where this technique was used to alter reality creating pictures with an otherwordly quality, or sometimes just that weird look so commonly associated with it.
So where do you stand? I think it would be very interesting to know what the very people who use it everyday - or deliberately choose not to -  think about it.
lucentius
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Posted Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:29AM
If iStock accepts filters from mobilephone images...........
esp_imaging
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Posted Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:42AM
I think it is often overdone, and results look poor. If done well, it can look great.
Like many artisitic / creative aspects, the technique itself is not good or bad (or right/wronng), how and when it is used is crucial.
secablue
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Posted Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:12AM
In my opinion, most HDR images are very bad, and are more of an insult to photography than complimenting the art.   Either people use HDR in situations where there is actually no HDR, and then using post processing to make up for an original bad exposure... or, people push the HDR software presents to the limit, thinking that fake pretty colours make a good photograph.   Of course you get some non-photographers look at this type of image as amazing, but it does not make good stock and would rarely sell for anything more than a few dollars in a market staill, only to be put on a wall for a year and then the fad is over.   A true HDR should look realistic, as you would have seen it in real life, and in some ways people should not be able to identify that you have used HDR frame blending to acheive the result.   By the way... sometimes high contrast works better than trying to balance the light...
spooh
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Posted Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:14AM
HDR is wonderful technique and any RAW photo is a good example of it.
What is often loved or hated is tone mapped HDR image which is often overprocessed but it's no longer real HighDynamicRange image. Actually it's not even possible to save HDR in jpg file.

Speaking of tone mapped HDR images... if you don't like it, stop shooting in RAW
HeliRy
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Posted Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:13AM
I really enjoy HDR shooting and editing. A fellow iStocker turned me on to blending the exposures by hand in PS and it's a real joy.

Do a search here for HDR images and you'll be blown away by some of the amazing work people are doing.
kelvinjay
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Posted Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:40AM

Posted By esp_imaging:
I think it is often overdone, and results look poor. If done well, it can look great.
Like many artisitic / creative aspects, the technique itself is not good or bad (or right/wronng), how and when it is used is crucial.


Pretty much my opinion too.

There are great examples of HDR but for each one of those I see, I see another hundred that hurt my eyes.
TexPhoto
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Posted Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:16PM

How much is too much?  4.5 is about the max for me.


This kind of question always gets me. How much is too much?  Well, how do you measure it?  Also it's your opinion taste, whatever.  If Ansel Adams rejoins the living and declarers HDR to be the best thing in photography since his passing, or alternatively, the work of the devil, who cares?  Will your opinion change?


Now, will it be accepted here?  That is a question i'd like to see discussed.  Also, does it sell?
keithferrisphoto
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Posted Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:38PM
The only way to quantify it is through your perception. I think when you see an image that's got too much HDR, you'll know it. I think it's best when you can't tell it's been used.
lagereek
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Posted Sun Nov 4, 2012 1:31AM

The art of HDR is to forget tone-mapping and try as realistic as possible. Also, three separate images at differant exposures often is not enough, you need about five in order to achieve true HDR.


The softwares is another thing. Forget the freebies. My choice is Nik.HDR Effex Pro.
marcoventuriniautieri
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Posted Thu Nov 8, 2012 12:38PM
Shooting Portra 160 is like shooting HDR . Whether to tone-map or not, then, this is another story.
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