Join Seán Duggan for an in-depth discussion in this video HDR Photography with Lightroom Mobile, part of Mobile Photography Weekly.
- Hey everybody, Shawn here. And I'm set up in this beautiful orchard, in northern Arizona. I've got this great rock monolith in the background there. And I've got a really nice composition set up on my camera. But, it's not the best time of day for a landscape photograph of this sort. It's midday lighting. The sun is almost directly overhead, very harsh light. The rock is kind of in the shadow, got all this bright light bouncing around. So, what I need to do is use a technique called HDR.
Which stands for high dynamic range photography, to capture more tonal values, or a wider range of tonal values, than is possible to capture in a single shot. Now in the native camera on the iPhone, and the native camera on Android phones, there is an HDR mode. And what HDR does, is it takes more than one shot, and blends those together, to get you as much of the tonal range as possible. So you have, typically, a normal shot, and then you have a shot where it is (mumbles) towards bringing out the detail in the shadows.
So, you could either use the built-in HDR modes in your camera apps on the iPhone or the Android phone, or there are several stand-alone HDR apps you can get, where you can take two pictures, and put them together. I'm going to be using the HDR mode in the Lightroom Mobile app, because I really love the controls in the camera portion of the Lightroom Mobile app. And, most importantly, for HDR in my mind, is that Lightroom Mobile allows me to capture in DNG, the digital negative format.
Which is a raw format. And that just means, I'm going to be able to capture a wider range of tones just from the DNG format. But then, with the HDR process, I'm going to get an even wider range. And since it's a raw file, I have a lot more latitude and flexibility, and possibility in terms of how I can massage that and adjust that later on in the post processing, either in Lightroom Mobile on the phone, or back in Lightroom on my computer. So, I'm going to come over here, and it is really hard to see what's going on.
So, what you can do in really bright, glaring light, is if you have a wide-brimmed hat, you can get close here. Or maybe a piece of black cloth or a t-shirt you can hold over there, and that'll help you set things up. I already have this setup here. But what I want to point out is a couple things. One is right here, I have it set up to be capturing in the DNG mode, or DNG format, not JPG. And that's critical. And then over here, I can choose between a couple of different modes.
I can choose between auto, professional, and HDR. So, the professional just gives me more controls over the camera settings. Shutter speed, exposure compensation, ISO, white balance, things like that. HDR is going to take those two shots. So let me just... First, I'm going to do one set to professional. Because that's what I've got it set to here now. And I'll just take that one shot. And then I'll put it into HDR, High Dynamic Range, and we'll take that shot.
And so the way Lightroom Mobile works, is when you're doing HDR, it actually has to merge them together. So the image is not available to view in HDR right away. Takes a little bit of time for it to work on that. But, in a couple minutes, I'll be able to open that up, and we can see the difference. And we will just be able to see a lot more detail into the shadows and it's just going to give me a much better foundation to adjust later on. So the times when HDR is going to be useful for you to shoot, is any time when you have a scene, with a very high contrast range, a lot of deep, deep shadows, a lot of very, very bright highlights.
And a single exposure is just really not doing it to capture all of those. So, for instance, take a look at these shots here, that I took at the Grand Canyon the other day. This first shot is looking out over the canyon, just a normal shot. And then in the second shot here, this is where I used Lightroom Mobile. And you can see, there's a lot more detail there in that deep shadowed area of the canyon. Alright, let's go and take a look at these here, and see what we got.
So there's just the normal DNG one, and there's the one with the HDR. So, definitely a lot more detail there in the shadows. It's a little bit bright overall, but I know that since it's a raw file, I can bring that down in the processing controls in the Lightroom Mobile app on my mobile device, or back on my computer. Another cool thing about Lightroom Mobile, is they will automatically sync the file to your Lightroom catalog, back on your desktop computer, once you're connected to Wifi. So, if you haven't played around with shooting HDR, and like to shoot landscapes.
And sometimes you find yourself in some really bright glaring lighting situations, check out the HDR in either an HDR app, or Lightroom Mobile, which is available for both iOS and Android. It really will help improve a lot of your shots in bright contrasty light.