Please Visit the all new Digital Outback Photo

Outback Photo Handbook: HDR and Tonemapping

HDR Challenges: The big Picture

essay by Uwe Steinmueller

Manage the Digital Workflow


Creating HDR photos sounds so easy and on the technical level it really is. But to get high quality results you have to master the "HDR Challenges". This articles covers a wide overview of these issues and we plan later to write more articles that cover them in more detail.

0. Movement

The main and overriding challenge is of course movements of all kinds:

  • Camera
  • Subject

Some aspects will deal with this but in general you should already be aware of it while shooting.

1. Exposure

Good exposure is always a crucial starting point for good photos. Not different for HDR photos but the rules change a bit.

2. RAW Conversion

Not all RAW converters are equal. This means the RAW converter is an important part of the image quality.

3. Ghosting

The most problematic movements are all movements in the scene because you take multiple exposures.

4. Alignment

Alignment of the source images is one of the most important tasks for excellent HDR photos.

5. Lens artifacts

Especially CA (Chromatic aberrations) can spoil the whole HDR fun.

6. Generate HDR

Different HDR tools also generate different kind of HDR files.

7. Colors and Saturation

Also colors are handled differently in different HDR tools.

8. Tonemapping

We think that tonemapping is the holy grail of HDR for photography (at least with the goal to print your images). Different tonemappers deliver very different results and also please different artistic styles.

9. When do you need HDR anyway?

10. Other related Topics

Here we plan to cover noise removal, sharpening and detail extraction.

As said we plan to cover each topic in its own short article over the next weeks or months.

Feedback is welcome:



Manage the Digital Workflow




Featured E-Books




Featured Tuning Filters