HDR vs Standard editing


TPF Noob!
Jun 8, 2011
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South of the Channel, West of France
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Sometimes HDR ain't the best option. Shooting into the sun I was sure HDR would be required to even see the shadowed side of the building. I was wrong.

Top image is the 5 exposure hdr and the bottom is the 0ev shot with sensible editing in PS (now with perspective control!).

The composition didn't really work out the way I'd wanted so the shot is a bit of a throw away, but I thought it really proved a point that HDR isn't always needed.

If y'all think the HDR image is better, please say so, but to my eyes the 0ev shot is better.



$vna play editsmall.jpg


ps - the pics don't seem to look so good when uploaded like this.
I am assuming that the HDR is the second picture posted, since you didn't indicate for sure.

However, there certainly is more shadow detail in the #2 in the lower left corner, so something was gained by the "over" exposure.
I don't think the point of the OP was preference, but whether HDR is often "needed".
In the examples given, there are areas of no detail in the shadows in the lower left corner of the 0ev. In the HDR version, there are details.
So, to answer the OP's question, whether HDR is "needed" is determined by what you want to accomplish.
There are many cases, however, where to get details in both the shadows and highlight, HDR or some type of exposure stacking, is a must.

The HDR image is on top (as clearly stated ;) ) so your observations are very interesting. For my money even in HDR shots I still want a bit of true black and white.

The second shot is the 0ev shot with a bit of shadow recovery in PS. I originally just wanted to play with the 0ev shot because the ghosting on the flags and I really didn't want to spend the time masking in a sharp shot of them. I was surprised to see how much detail was actually in the 0ev shot - hence the post.

Just a bit to think about, really. Also wanted to know which edit others preferred.


well, it is hard to tell for sure, because the second shot is not properly exposed for the mids. The sky is too dark unless you was using a CPL and the whites are not white.
Nonetheless, my point still remains. If you have a scene with a 7 + stops of range, a single shot with a modern DSLR will not capture the entire range. Period.
I prefer the top one. The second one seems a bit washed out to me, or lacking contrast somehow. Even though the top may not show the darker lower left area as brightly as the bottom shot, there is still plenty of detail there and it make sense because of the location of the sun. It just seems more "natural" as to what I'd expect to see with the sun up and behind the subject.

The second one just looks odd to me, aside from the washed out look, it just doesn't look right. There should more, and darker shadows or something.
Threads like this are unproductive. It doesn't "prove" anything because this isn't a scene that really needed HDR, in the first place. This is also one of those situations where it can be really easy to do the bare minimum to the HDR and make it look flat and boring compared to a "normal" shot. It seems like you are trying to say that one style is better than the other, but you basis for your position is flawed.
Nothing is trying to be proven and I have already learned from it therefore it is productive.

My only position was that I preferred one image over another - since it is an opinion, nothing more, nothing less, it cannot be flawed.
It seems like you are trying to say that one style is better than the other, but you basis for your position is flawed.

Who are you speaking to with this statement? I don't think anyone is saying anything is better than another. Just pointing out benefits. That being said, no digital camera can capture a scene with more than 5 or 6 stops in dynamic range in a single shot. Anyone who says otherwise is mistaken.
All it proves is that you have no idea how to process images with High Dynamic Range.
It may just have been my mood at the time, but a lot of OPs comments in this thread read to me like he is looking down his nose at HDR.

I am a big fan of HDR, when needed to capture the full range of a photograph. Hell, I shoot brackets by default and then determine if HDR is needed when I get home. I am not a fan of HDR when a bit of processing makes a single frame that does the job just as well. And the shots provided are a perfect example. There is no need for HDR in that shot... so why process an HDR of it and then post it here?
HDR processing can be used to end up with a final product different from a single shot. Nothing says you have to only use it specifically for high dynamic range comps. We know it really pops textures, so even if a scene isn't "high Dynamic", you can still use it to pop the textures, for example.

This is digital after all, we all use various techniques, software, filters, colorizations, toning, etc to achieve an end result we like.
All it proves is that you have no idea how to process images with High Dynamic Range.

If that was directed at me, there may be a bit of truth in the statement. I've only done about 5 HDR shots so I'd say I'm at the bottom of the learning curve, definitely. Having said that, I've seen others much prouder of much worse shots. Your comment does come across as antagonistic and is slightly less than helpful.

Mr Zombie - I can assure you that your interpretation of my comments was incorrect. For any kind of landscape-y shot, I'm only looking to do it in HDR as I really like the look of a well done High Dynamic Range shot. When I looked at the scene I was shooting, I thought that HDR processing would be needed as I was shooting into the sun and had a large shaded area on the close side of the near building. I was actually surprised at how much detail was in the single shot, that was why I posted the 2 shots up, basically showing my ignorance or lack of experience which most of you seem more than happy to point out anyway.

I pretty much only shoot mountain biking and other similar sports so I wouldn't say I've got a great eye for landscapes or other types of static shots. I travel around the world on a weekly basis and like to get the camera out to try and get some nice pictures because it's a bit of fun and I have a laugh doing it - something that doesn't seem to be shared by a fair few on this forum.


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