Why HDR Photography May Be Right For You

March 23, 2022
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By Sebastian Lopez

You’ve probably seen the term HDR thrown around but what does it really mean and when is it best used? In this blog we are going to dive deep into the world of HDR photography to explain why HDR photography may be right for you.

What is HDR?

HDR is a complex photographic technique that stands for High Dynamic Range. Dynamic range is the difference between the lightest light and darkest dark you can capture in a photo. Although our photographers use the best cameras in the industry, there is a limit to how much dynamic range cameras can capture in one single image. For this reason we often use a variety of techniques such as flash, long exposure, and HDR photography. This goes to show how truly remarkable our human eyesight is. Humans see in ultra high-definition and ultra high-dynamic range! Unfortunately camera technology is not quite there yet.

Sometimes I can’t see through the widows in my photos… Why is that?

Once the light in a given room exceeds the camera’s dynamic range, what we call the “highlights” tend to wash out to white, or the “shadows” simply become black blobs. It’s notoriously difficult to snap a photo that captures both ends of this spectrum such as a dark living room while the sun is shining bright through the window. 

For this reason we always aim to “expose” the image to capture details in the interior while the bright windows sometimes tend to wash out beyond the camera’s dynamic range capabilities. For some properties this may be forgivable, but for properties featuring breathtaking views it poses the problem of not being able to see through the windows when you may want to.

What is the solution?

HDR! With modern shooting techniques and advanced post-processing software, our photographers have devised ways to make it happen. HDR is a specific photography technique with an unusually high dynamic range that couldn’t otherwise be achieved in a single photograph. HDR is created by fusing a number of images into one final edited product.

I am a bit of a nerd… Tell me exactly how this works!

Welcome to the gang! HDR works by fusing multiple exposures of the exact same composition into one image. For example, our professionals will need to use a tripod and take 3, 5, or sometimes up to 9 photographs of the exact same composition. However, each photograph is “exposed” or focused on capturing a slightly different range of light. In this example you can see the darkest photo of the interior is exposed to capture the exterior. You can see through the window and see the outside perfectly. The next photos work their way up to the brightest photo where you can not see any detail in the windows because it is “overexposed” but you can see a lot of details in the interior.

So then comes the dilemma… if we only take one photo, which do we choose? Well, with HDR we don’t have to choose. We actually grab the most relevant elements of each exposure and merge them together in our software to create one single image with the entire range of light. So now we can see everything we want to see.

Other benefits of HDR:

One key benefit of HDR is that not many Vancouver Real Estate agents are using it! It is no secret that HDR photography has a better overall appeal because images look more life-like. When comparing a single exposure image and an HDR image, the HDR image stands out more. For this reason HDR photography is a great marketing tool to stand out amongst the competition.

Is HDR more expensive?

Due to the complex nature of capturing and processing HDR images they do come at a higher cost of investment. Our photographers have three to five times more images to work through and process which requires more time to both shoot and edit. All of our photographers are well trained and experienced at HDR and are able to deliver phenomenal results. If done incorrectly HDR can cause unflattering and unrealistic images. For this reason we make sure to work with the best photographers in Vancouver. 

When should I use HDR for my listings?

HDR photography is best used for any listings that showcase breathtaking views of back yards, lakes, oceans, forests, or mountains. It is a great way of showing your prospective buyers a glimpse into what it’s truly like to be inside of the home. HDR is also great for ultra bright sunny days, twilight or evening photos, and as a tool to have images that stand out amongst the competition. 

We hope you enjoyed learning about HDR photography and how it could be of benefit to you as a Vancouver Realtor. Stand out with HDR and book your next listing with GVA Home Tours.

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