HDR Photography Tips: Look Around - dummies

HDR Photography Tips: Look Around

If you go to shoot a scene for a high dynamic range image, look up, down, and sideways at other possible shots at that location. Turn around and see what’s behind you.

This figure illustrates the point of shooting from different angles of the same location, in contrast to the situations where the same subject was photographed throughout. Notice that from one vantage point on a bridge, the sun set in a beautiful glow of color to the west, the city was bathed in golden hour light to the south, and the east had a magical presence to it as well.

And the photos capture the amazing clouds that were present that evening.


Always be on the lookout for opportunities to make your current trip pay off more than expected. If you go looking for one scene, come back with three. If you go to shoot a sunset, shoot what’s behind and beside you, too.

Another good tip related to looking around you is to look for contrasts in the environment where you are shooting. Although HDR specializes in capturing scenes with a high dynamic range of light, you can use other sources of contrast besides light. As you look at several examples of contrast here, keep these thoughts in mind:

  • Light and dark: This is HDR’s specialty. Photograph scenes with a wide range of light and dark for best results.


  • Colors: Colors can contrast as well. Blue-gray clouds floating in a blue sky across a fiery red sunset. Green trees sit along a gray road with white clouds in a blue sky. Red rust on a blue truck with chrome details.


    Interior spaces look much better if they are filled with contrasting colors. Monotone rooms and spaces are relatively boring.

  • Textures and materials: Textures often contain details that can be accentuated in HDR. Brick, wood, stone, grass, rocks, and other rough surfaces are especially pleasing in HDR.