The term HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. HDR photography has been trending in the real estate segment for years now, as many of the stock photographers shoot this way to portray the best features of a property.
The principle of HDR photography is to snap an image with a great level of detail from bright and dark areas in the photo. When editors open the captured image in an HDR photo editing software, histograms can be seen in the upper right portion of the software. The histogram will suggest where the pixels of the photo reside on the brightness scale. The left side of the histogram represents pure black and the right side represents pure white.
A histogram with a High Dynamic Range will stretch from one side of the histogram to the other with curving peaks in the middle of the histogram. An image with HDR will have good detail in both shadows and highlights minus blown out areas, but standard images will have mid tones. The middle of the brightness curve in the histogram represents mid tones exposure in the photo.
To achieve this brightness tone using the histogram, photographers find it useful to shoot multiples of bracketed shots and then merge the images together using the software. Bracketed shots mean to compose an image and then shoot in distinct frames at distinct brightness settings in the camera.
With the advent of digital tools and advanced editing programs, it has become easy to shoot multiple frames and combine into one in real estate photography editing. In darker frames, areas that are too bright in the middle will be properly exposed to the naked eye. The editors will combine together darker and lighter exposure tones with mid tone exposure to bring back the detail in the composite image.
Editors indulged in real estate retouching will combine a single frame in accordance with the client needs, which may be mid tones. The reason why the photographers shoot extra darker and lighter frames is to provide detail in the highlight and shadow areas in the histogram.
In the days of darkroom retouching, most common type of photography used to be shooting from a single frame, but not anymore. Today, the idea of image bracketing is to compose an image with High Dynamic Range and good detail in both the shadow and highlight areas.