Improving Your Photography - What is HDR?

Education & Training with Tech Training for You!

How are the fall colors where you are located? In metro New York City, we are just now starting to see some nice colors pop out. Today was a very rainy day. However, when the rain finally stopped the sun popped out very quickly after. I wanted to take a photo out of our front window of the blue sky coming out and the colorful tree across the street.

The first photo I took, you will see above on the left. The sky was blown out. So next I turned on the HDR setting on my phone's camera and took the second shot. Ah, much better!

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. There are some shots where in one scene there is a very large differential in range from light to dark elements. In the example above, if you expose the photo for the sky, the foreground is too dark and shadowy. If you expose for the foreground, the sky is blown out (over-exposed).

Built into our phone cameras is a software feature that when turned on can help us get the properly exposed shot that we are looking for. The camera can virtually instantaneously take a series of shots at varying exposure settings (dark to light). Afterward, it can computationally merge the best exposures of the various shots into a single image. Tip: when you are taking HDR photos, it is best to hold very still for the short duration of the shot. That way the camera can have the best chance of grabbing several computational shots with little to no movement in between.

So check out your camera app and look around until you see HDR mode. Now that you know what it is, you can make sure that mode is turned ON next time you have a complex lighting shot. If you want more information about your particular type of phone, you can google your model name along with the words HDR settings and you'll surely find more specific instructions for your type of phone. For example, here is a page with HDR instructions for an iPhone.

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Barbara Todaro 10/28/2019 04:02 AM
Real Estate Technology & Tools
Real Estate Technology

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Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Craig. I love taking pictures too. I try and find a simple yet good camera and learn its settings. The Canon I bought recently works well.

Oct 28, 2019 06:44 AM #8
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Craig, so glad to see you back, we so missed you.  You always have such valuable tips for us, thanks! 

Oct 28, 2019 01:47 PM #9
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Craig Daniels - Such great advice about a topic realtors need is greatly appreciated!

Congratulations! Your post is featured in the BananaTude Group!

Please post more - we miss you!!!

Oct 28, 2019 02:43 PM #10
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Oh, I am a big believer in turning on that HDR button, Craig! It makes a world of difference. I always try to grab a front shot of my listings for coming soon ads until my photographer can get out to the house. The HDR shots are far more appealing, for sure.

Thanks for the additional info too. 

Oct 28, 2019 04:24 PM #11
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good afternoon Craig Daniels - I will check that out on my camera.  This makes a big difference.

Oct 29, 2019 01:47 PM #12
Keith McMullin
Port Aransas Realty - Port Aransas, TX
Port Aransas Real Estate

Thank you so much for the valuable information.  Checking iPhone settings now.  Photo quality is key.

Oct 29, 2019 04:11 PM #13
Jim Kimmons Chief Evangelist - Taos, NM

Actually, the real value of HDR is interior shots.  When you have windows with lots of light and the walls and furnishings are dark, HDR makes the room look like it should.  Outdoors is good, but interior shots change the game.  In the past, professional photographers had to bring in lights to brighten the interior areas.  You can also see what's outside the windows instead of just a bright blown-out blob of light.

Oct 29, 2019 05:02 PM #14

Hire a photographer

Oct 29, 2019 05:02 PM #15
Jeni Blessman
Keller Williams Realty - McLean, VA

Wow...this is incredible info...I always wondered what the little HDR was at the top.  I have noticed the wash out and am excited to try this out tomorrow on our beautiful trees here in the DC area!!!

Thank you SO much for sharing this great tip :)

Oct 29, 2019 05:20 PM #16
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Craig, it's been a hog's age since I saw you AND since being on ActiveRain....always great to read your offerings. They are spot on! I use HDR occasionally in my photo editing program on if I want an edgier look in the interior shots of my listings. You have to be oh-so-careful though because it can look somewhat unreal. It can certainly give a sharper quality to photos but finesse is key! 

Oct 29, 2019 06:07 PM #17
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

Thanks for the tip on long is a hog's age anyway?


Oct 29, 2019 06:23 PM #18
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

So nice to see you again, Craig, and with a great tip to help us all!


Oct 29, 2019 09:24 PM #19
John McCarthy
Bean Group Portsmouth NH - North Hampton, NH
Realtor - Seacoast NH

Great to see you again, Craig! 

Yes, HDR is great for real estate photography, especially for interior shots when you have windows. Our eyes have the capability to adjust for light and dark areas in a room, but a camera does not. A camera can only meter the light in one area in the room at a time. By taking multiple shots, underexposed to overexposed and merging them in photo software, you can capture a wide "dynamic range," from dark corners to bright windows.

Oct 30, 2019 04:54 AM #20
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

Thank you, Craig, for the very informative post...and for the link to iPhone Photography School. Now, with a little studying and concentration, I can improve my personal photos.

For listings...I will still go with the pros.

Oct 30, 2019 07:22 AM #21
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

This was really helpful Craig.    I didn't understand what my camera phone was doing about exposure; now I know and this should improve my photography for my blog and facebook activities.     For homes, I'll still hire a pro though.

Oct 30, 2019 09:21 AM #22
Greg Mona
Revelation Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
Professional Real Estate Representation for YOU!

Nice, informative post, Craig Daniels. HDR is and has been the only way to go, especially for twilight photoshoots when you want to accurately capture that evening glow of the sky and how it interacts with the home's interior. When done correctly, the results with HDR are stunning.

Oct 30, 2019 09:50 AM #23
Anna Banana Kruchten Broker/Owner, CRB, CRS
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ

Hey Craig Daniels what a great surprise to see you post today!  I think of you often and hope all is going fantastic!!!  Great post too!

Oct 31, 2019 03:48 PM #24
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Hey Craig! It is a treat to see you posting in the Rain. Thanks for the reminder to turn on the HDR...I'm going to start playing with it more on my iPhone.  Hope you have a fabulous weekend. D 

Nov 02, 2019 08:30 AM #27
Craig Daniels
Tech Training for You! - Staten Island, NY
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD Hey there! So glad you stopped by today. I've missed blogging - trying to squeeze it back into my weekly schedule again. See you more soon!

Nov 02, 2019 10:23 AM #28
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Photography is so many moving parts to capture and create the best visuals for stills and video. Angles, how tight a shot on a feature, which ones you one by one put in the array and why to tell the story. Hurried images with a dirty lens cell phone, skimpy descriptive narrative, no maps, no local area links means no phone rings, no office door hinges need 3 in 1 oil and the email server does not glow red hot from heavy use from incoming leads. Great points Craig.

Nov 27, 2019 03:19 AM #34
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