Home > Matt Explains, Photography > HDR vs. “Natural” Photography

HDR vs. “Natural” Photography

This summer I began to start using a photograph editing technique that has been growing in popularity over the last few years, HDR or High Dynamic Range.  This technique uses multiple exposures with different amounts of light to create a single photograph that allows for a more intense range of colors, ensuring that there are no areas that are too dark or blown out.  I really, really like the results that occur, but at the same time I wonder if this is being true to photography.  I do not need to spend as long making sure I have the lighting right, instead I can just focus on composition.  I know that any errors in exposure will be neutralized or at least minimized during the HDR process.

My goal is ultimately to have photos that look more vibrant without looking too fake.  The software that I use, photomatix is amazing and does a great job bringing out the color and details of these photos.  While home for my sister’s wedding I finally got a quality tripod.  Combining this with my Nikon D90 makes it easy to shoot a series of four or five photographs in quick succession, after this the software does the rest.  I love the effect and ultimately I think this is what matters, but I struggle with comparing this to using photoshop.  Is it the same or is it closer to using darkroom techniques to develop film photographs in a way that the artist wants.

Trey Ratcliff at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/ is one of the most famous HDR photographers.  His works are amazing and HDR photography has become a full time business for him.  I have a long way to go to match his consistent quality, but his tutorials have gotten me started.
So, what do you think…do these photos look fake or overly edited?

Does using software like this make for less authentic photos or is it a tool to recreate what you saw when there?

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