HDR Troubleshooting: Overreacting to Criticism
The bottom line when processing your high dynamic range photos is this: Your HDR images are yours. Ultimately, what you create should appeal to you on some level. Start there. Be comfortable with that (but don’t let it go to your head).
This figure illustrates two different interpretations of the same scene. It's a great scene. A guy (out of the frame) and his dad were eating in this pavilion at the park when the photographer brought his family over for some photography and fun. The kids played in the playground (you can see it in the background). The photographer timed the shots so the older gentleman wasn’t moving.
So, which version works? Which one doesn’t? Both. Neither. It depends on who you’re asking. If that person hates overdramatized HDR, he will vote for the realistic version. If that person loves the way HDR makes a photo look like art, then she will shun the realistic version and say if you want that, just go take a single picture.
Always recognize who your audience is and who is giving you feedback. They are not always the same group. Make sure you’re responding to criticism for the right reasons. Is it to improve your work? Is it to reach your audience better? Is it to make people like you?