Lesson 112: Auto HDR. Why you need to just do it!

In Smartphone Camera lesson 112, why Auto HDR will improve the overall exposure of your pictures.

Before we get started, grab a hold of your smartphone, open the camera app, and follow along.  All smartphone cameras will have the functionality I describe; yours might look different. If you know the functionality exists, you can find it, then turn on Auto HDR.

Auto HDR (High Dynamic Range) 

In photography, dynamic range is the difference between an image's lightest and darkest elements.  Many scenes have too much difference between light and dark areas to adequately capture by your camera in one photograph.  The shadows will lack detail; the bright areas will be burned out. These scenes are said to have a high dynamic range. Auto HDR (High Dynamic Range) allows your camera to automatically capture multiple images of the same scene at different exposure levels and then combine them to create a single image with a wider dynamic range. 

Here's how it typically works:

  • When you take a photo in Automatic HDR mode, the camera app captures three or more images of the same scene. Each image is captured at a different exposure level, from dark to bright.
  • The camera app then analyzes each image to determine which parts of the scene are too dark or bright. It then combines the best parts of each image to create a single image with a wider dynamic range, resulting in more detail in both the shadows and highlights.
  • The camera app then applies post-processing to the combined image to enhance the contrast, sharpness, and color saturation, producing a final HDR image.

I recommend you turn on Auto HDR, allowing your camera to capture an HDR image when the camera believes it is needed.

Turn on automatic HDR

  • Open the Camera app
  • Tap the settings icon, 
  • Scroll to find and then tap to turn on  HDR Auto. 

Auto HDR turned on in Camera Settings

There you go, you have done it. Your camera will now automatically generates an HDR image when it detects a high dynamic range.

A Word Of Caution. 

It takes more time for your camera to record three images.  It means holding your camera still for the entire time is critically important.  Camera movement during the three images will introduce an element of blur to your image. 

Click here to read my recommendations for keeping your camera steady

Please  let me know if you appreciate this content.  

Let me know if there are other topics you would like me to cover.  After I cover cell phone camera basics in 100-level lessons, I will start the 200 series covering composition.