A touch of HDR

stengt_kirke_cw

Some may have noticed I am not a big fan of HDR. As I work with documentary this is also not much of an option I feel. The pictures should not be transformed into something else. But there are no rules that cannot be broken. The picture above is from the interior of an old church. The light was very poor and whatever I did the picture looked messy. Then I tried to add just a little bit of HDR in the middle, to make the people working stand out a little bit more. This is done with the free version of the onOne software, and the effect is painted on, not a real HDR work. What do you think compared with the original picture. For better or worse?

The people are preparing the church for a theatre play, and the church will be closed for burials, marriages and the usual worship for about a month. More pictures from the Selbu church here.

stenge_kirka_cw

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36 thoughts on “A touch of HDR

  1. The first one is my best, it is sharpen more… I haven’t any experience yet, with HDR, so don’t know much about. A nice action and working photograph. Thank you dear Bente, have a nice weekend, love, nia

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  2. I agree with you on the HDR. I think some images can get away with it and some should be left as they are. Ive tried it on some of my work and there is something about the HDR that is just leaves me with a ” NO” I don’t like it on my images and I have seen other people’s work and it has looked amazing. For me, I like your none HDR. It looks much cleaner and gives it a real feel to the image. The HDR version looks to harsh for me.

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  3. Better. I didn’t quite realize there was a third person there in the non HDR version. But that could be that I don’t have my reading glasses on! 🙂 Seriously, it defines the man sitting and the worker crouching much better. Great job!

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  4. Well I like it, the image that is….As you know I am not over the moon with HDR but have found that it does work very well for some images, it can be used to just bring out that extra detail. Not at all keen on the extremes of HDR conversions. As for On One, love their software but I use Photomatix for my HDR but still learning. Have to try the On One option.

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  5. To my eyes, the original picture looks more intimate, familiar; the enhanced one would probably be more striking for printing in a newspaper though. Very interesting! (I’m no fan of HDR myself either!)

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  6. In this case I prefer the original version only because I don’t think it benefits from the HDR treatment. Some photos do and I’m not opposed to using HDR, but only when the photo can benefit.

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  7. The little touch of it helped highlight the workers and it’s still a pleasing picture. I’ve seen some that have so much of the “touch” that it looks almost like a poster – too surreal – but in this case I think it helped make the point of the photo.

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  8. for me it’s the original, that’s the better one
    in hdr skintones of the workers are too artificial
    alltogether a nice shot

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  9. Frankly, i think that by working with “curves” in photoshop you can get the tones nice and bright without the need to dabble in Hdr. The effect, if done as an afterthought rather than as a planned shoot, often tends to look a little gimmicky. Just my 5 cents’ worth…

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  10. I’ve also never been a huge fan of HDR, especially when it’s obvious. I think your shot benefitted without making the HDR treatment really obvious. One thing I learned from my workshop though is there is a treatment (that I have yet to learn) that could have pulled out and highlighted the people without emphasizing the column behind them quite so starkly. It mimics the old techniques of dodge and burn that old-time photographers used to use in the darkroom. I hope to learn more about it, but it involves using layers, can’t remember off-hand exactly which software was used either.

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  11. I like it very much Bente. I think all these techniques have their place.If I need to bring out shadows to balance an exposure I’m more likely to use exposure blending these days which can be done with Photomatrix. It’s a lot more subtle.

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  12. I’m not a fan of HDR either, but in this case it does look nice. You can see more detail. It doesn’t look too artificial at all.

    (I would have increased the ‘definition’ slider on the iPhoto editing software of my Mac Pro if the original had been mine, which would have had a similar effect as the onOne software).

    I love the composition. It’s one of those wonderful photos which draws your eye in to the people in the light, and moves your eyes around the photo from the man sitting on the front pew to the two men carrying the other pew. Very nice indeed.

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  13. I prefer non HDR as well. I liked the first picture well enough until I scrolled down to the second, which just seems more natural to me. But in some ways the HDR makes the image look more deliberate. Not expressing that well, but without the HDR it looks like a normal photo I suppose, a slice of reality, whereas with HDR it is more like a painting, like something staged or posed. I guess it depends what the intention and purpose of the picture is.

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  14. I absolutely agree with you. I see too many pictures processed with HDR that only makes them look strange or at best like HRD has been used for the effect itself. In this case, though, it really brings more details into the picture in a good way. It lifts the workers and adds clarity. Generally I don’t think using HDR necessarily is a problem in a documentary approach, but it’s usually not for the benefit of the picture.

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  15. You can see deeper into the shadows in the first, which I like, but I like the overall contrast of the second. I had never thought about trying to use HDR the way you have used it. I ignore it most times because the images appear unrealistic, like you and your other commenters alude to.

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  16. I like the original very much. I agree that the figures are much more enhanced with the selective application of HDR, but I’m not certain that the man bending over looks entirely natural. Beautiful photographs either way.

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