HDR Vs. Tone Mapping

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by N1kon1k, Sep 19, 2017.

  1. N1kon1k

    N1kon1k No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    hey guys i recently came across an article on how real photographers "hate" HDR... in the article it states that "they see it as cheating" ...

    Now I bracket some shots to balance the light between high/kids/shadows... and technically merge all 3 shots into one creating an HDR file....

    I just don't understand why is this concept so hated? Or is it the way the overall shot it's processed with tone mapping giving that super over sharp look that's considered bad hdr?

    I'm sure this issued has came up here in the forum at some point but just trying to understand what's really hated in HDR


     
  2. Light Guru

    Light Guru Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Its not cheating. Even with film photographers used the Zone System to get a higher dynamic range in their images.

    The thing I don't like about tone mapping is that its like putting icing on top of a stale tasteless cake. Beginning photographers (and i fell victim to this myself) see it as a quick easy way to make a photo pop. When in reality the the image is not that great. It lacks a in subject, has poor composition etc. And on top of that the tone mapping reeks havoc with the color saturation. The images come out looking cartoony. I want my photos to be real. Cartoony photos don't look real.
     
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  3. N1kon1k

    N1kon1k No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    So in essence when some people say HDR they Are actually referring to tone mapping?

    Because I always felt that a bad image is a bad image period... no subject, no comp, no balance? No success...

    If cameras struggle with Dynamic Range and HDR can help us get around that issue, than technically HDR is a tool just like many others available to help the image (when suitable)...

    It just seems when I look at HDR photography I get inundated with a ton of tone mapped images that like you mentioned "look cartoonish"
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Part of the processes of producing an HDR image often includes tone mapping.
    The process also often includes the global adjustment of mid-tone contrast, global & local adjustment of contrast, global & local sharpening, dodging, burning, and more.

    Some people go way overboard on adjustment and wind up with a image that is not pleasing to look at.

    The best HDR images often aren't suspected that they are an HDR.
     
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  5. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Not really disagreeing with you but, couldn't the same be said about any enhancement to an image. In portraiture we put icing on skin blemishes, we smooth out the skin, enhance the eyes, smearing icing everywhere. In landscape same thing, sharpening, adjusting, spreading on the icing. The icing makes everything pretty, but to much can definitely give you an upset stomach.
     
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  6. N1kon1k

    N1kon1k No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In that train of thought than HDR is just a tool that allows us to achieve highlights, mid tones and shadows... and what some perceive as hdr? It seems like it's the over processing of the image in post...
     
  7. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I believe it is, no different then any other tool. It has it's place.
     
  8. john.margetts

    john.margetts No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I am a real photographer (a pretend photographer wouldn't have knees that hurt like mine do!) and I do not hate HDR. In fact, I use it a great deal. I photograph the insides of small mediaeval churches - small windows and not many of them giving a dark interior, darker corners with brightly lit windows. No sensor can deal with that in one shot - I cannot bring up the shadows without blowing the windows. HDR us essential - and I would hope that no one looking at my pictures could ever tell how I got there.
     
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  9. snowbear

    snowbear Big Furball Supporting Member

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    For me, this is the key -- the image should look like nothing special was done. I don't want to see halos or a gritty, cartoon-like appearance.
     
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  10. SCraig

    SCraig Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The world is full of people who are going to whine about anything these days. One "Real" photographer says that "xxx" is cheating, the next says "yyy" is cheating. MOST of us are able to realize that HOW we get to the result that we want is less important than the result itself. If some don't like the methods that we use what difference does that make? I personally could care less.
     
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  11. petrochemist

    petrochemist No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I suspect cheating is often used to mean 'I can't get that to work well for me, so it's not proper photography'.
    Like many photographic techniques HDR can be very useful, or it can be over done so many people think it looks hideous. the line between the two is often just down to personal taste too. I have to admit I've seen one or two overdone HDR images that worked well to my eye, the remaining hundreds/thousands looked awful to me.
     
  12. The Barbarian

    The Barbarian No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Precisely. And when Ansel Adams began using the Zone System, he got the same sort of flak from people who thought the zone system was "cheating." Just as there is a lot of horrible work done by people who don't know how to do decent HDR, there were awful pictures made by people who couldn't do good work with the Zone System.

    That's been my experience. The goal is to make an interesting or informative image. Or both. Whatever serves those purposes is good photography.

    And I think you're right about overdoing it. When someone says, "I didn't realize that was an HDR", I'm happy. The technique shouldn't be more prominent than the image.
     

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