The 10 Steps Every HDR Photographer Goes Through

Step 3: My Style Is Over-Baked. “It’s Just What I Like.”

I haven’t found a photographer yet who hasn’t gone through this stage. Pushing a photo past its limits is so enticing. And it looks so different from a lot of the other photos out there in the world. Every now and then I stop by various photography forums. Most of them have a ‘critique my shot’ section where new photographers will post there work in hopes for some honest feedback. I’ll see a person post an HDR shot that really is just quite terrible. I don’t want to be mean so I just go over a few things in the photo that I would change. I recently saw a photo that had a really overdone sky. It was shot during mid day but the sky had this really awkward red and purple hue in it. The city in the photo was WAY over-baked and looked terrible. I pointed these things out and gave suggestions on how to make it look better.

Well, the person fired back at me all angry and said that it was just his style and he wasn’t interested in changing it. Really!? Your style is creating terrible imagery that looks like a clown went on an acid trip and threw up all over a computer screen!?

Look, every photographer who discovers HDR will go through this. It’s a phenomenon. We create terrible images with halos, over-saturated colors, clipped channels, muddy whites and sickly skin tones and we just think it looks so awesome. We can’t see clearly because there is such a vast difference between an HDR photo and a photo straight out of the camera. It’s like when you see something that looks white and your brain tells you it’s white. But then you see something even whiter and your brain resets and decided that is white. But then you see something even whiter!

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