iPhone Hdr And Smart Hdr Explained
Youve probably seen the HDR badge on some of your photos and the namesake setting in your Camera app but what exactly does it do? iPhones HDR mode can dramatically improve your shots if you know how to use it. In this guide, well lay out what HDR is, why you need it, and what the difference is between an HDR and a non-HDR photo. Plus, well take a closer look at Apples hot new tech: Smart HDR on iPhone XS.
When To Use Hdr & When Not To Use Hdr
HDR is best used to balance high-contrast scenes. Some examples of situations in which to use HDR:
Landscapes. The sky and the land have a lot of contrast between them. HDR is capable of capturing the light of the sky and the dark of the land in one shot that doesnt make either the land too dark or the sky overexposed.
Objects in Direct Sunlight. Sunlight casts shadows creating a wider range of contrast in a photo. Using HDR brings balance to all the elements both light and shadow.
Scenes with Backlighting, without flash. The same principle as above applies to the reverse situation. If you have a scene thats bright in the background, HDR will lighten the foreground without making it look overexposed and washed out.
Dont: use HDR for quick, successive snaps.
Dont: use HDR in bright, sunlit conditions.
Dont: use HDR for moving objects or when you are moving.
Okay What Is iPhone Hdr Then
HDR on your iPhone is the combination of three shots, taken within milliseconds of each other, and stitched together into one photo. Your iPhone takes three pictures in order to capture each part of the landscape in perfect exposure. As we stated above, its hard to achieve ideal exposure of both light and dark areas. So, the iPhone creates a High Dynamic Range photo by combining the properly exposed parts of each of the three images into one that looks seamless.
The images below show how HDR works and what it looks like when you use HDR on your iPhone:
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What Does Hdr Mean On iPhone Photos
HDR has been around for a while now on iPhones. Now its even evolved into Smart HDR. But most iPhone users dont know what HDR is, let alone when to use it. So what does HDR mean on iPhone Photos anyway? And when should you turn the HDR feature On or Off?
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Do Hdr Photos Use More Memory
An HDR photo shot on iPhone is roughly the same size as its non-HDR equivalent. So the photos per se are not a threat to iPhone storage. But theres an iPhone setting that can cause your storage to deplete more quickly. See, by default iPhone saves both the HDR and the non-HDR version of your shot. That means two photos instead of one every time you take a photo in the sun! Luckily, you can easily turn that off in the Settings:
From now on, your iPhone wont save redundant photos anymore, but you probably have tons of those from before. Sometimes the HDR photo looks better, sometimes the regular one is your favorite, but no matter the case, theres always an extra copy hogging iPhone storage.
To find unwanted HDR/non-HDR copies and get rid of them, do the following:
Repeat this for all sets of similar photos youve got, and then tap that big Delete button. Done!
The Difference Between Hdr And Non
Comparing HDR features to pre-existing TV screens or display technology, such as 4K TV, helps to understand better how much HDR can improve video technology.
4K TV displays are loved because they can produce four times the number of pixels of any HD TV on the market. Yet, when compared against the quality of an HDR TV, many find that they cannot see the type of colors and dynamic pictures possible with HDR TVs.
While 4K defines the number of pixels, HDR defines the quality of what is seen. 4K without HDR does not look as good. Ironically, many people cannot even see the extra resolution that 4K provides in videos.
While certain hues are visible on HDR displays, you cannot see them on normal TVs, projectors, or computers.
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Avoid Hdr For Stunning Silhouettes
HDR preserves detail.
But the best silhouette photography doesnt preserve detail. In fact, great silhouette photos get rid of all detail in the subject!
Look at the photo above. There isnt any detail in the silhouetted people. Theyre entirely dark!
Therefore, its best to avoid HDR when shooting silhouettes. That way, you can capture your perfect silhouettewithout having to deal with too much detail.
Now What Is Smart Hdr
Smart HDR is a killer new feature in iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. With Smart HDR, iPhone Camera takes not three, but the whole nine shots, each at a different exposure. Then the processor analyzes all images, picks the best parts of them, and combines those into a stunning photo all within split seconds.
HDR mode used to be a privilege of pro photographers and camera geeks, but as iPhone cameras got more advanced, us mere mortals gained access to the trick. HDR on iPhone is still a far cry from what high-powered cameras can do, but its already good enough to improve your beach selfie. And for more camera tricks that take your photos a step further, check out this article on iPhone Portrait mode we published earlier.
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What Does Hdr Stand For
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. Its a feature built into the camera on iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch cameras. You have the option of turning it on or off in the camera app settings.
Exposure: Make Photos Brighter Or Darker
Similar to adjusting and locking the focus in Camera, you can adjust and lock the exposure, or the brightness, of your pictures. Just tap anywhere on the image and drag the sun icon up or down to make the photo brighter or darker. Additionally, you can press and hold to lock the exposure (the same yellow box labeled AE/AF Lock will appear. And if you’d like more advanced, DSLR-like control over exposure, try on of the iPhone camera apps we like.
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What Is The iPhone Smart Hdr Feature
Before deciding to disable Smart HDR on an iPhone, you should understand exactly what the feature is and what its technology does to a given photo. Smart HDR uses AI and other computational photography techniques to splice together the best photo. Essentially, the feature takes a series of exposures before and after you hit the photo shutter to capture all the bright highlights, mid-tones, and dark shadows. Smart HDR then takes the best elements of each frame and combines them into one perfect exposed image.
Typically, this is a useful and welcomed feature amongst those snapping photos on their iPhones. However, with annual advancements in Apples iPhone cameras , some people may not want their photos so perfectly captured especially for certain close up portrait mode shots. If thats the case, heres everything you need to know to disable Smart HDR on your iPhone.
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What Is Hdr And How Does It Improve Tvs And Displays
HDR has become more common in photography, videos, and more. Here’s a rundown of how it improves visual experiences.
TVs and video displays have evolved over the years, bringing us new experiences like never before. New standards have made videos more realistic than ever, and HDR is one of such standards.
If you would like to learn more about what HDR is and how it improves video technology, this article is for you.
Is Dolby Vision Worth It
One of the greatest things about the iPhone 12 is how future proof it is. Apple did a great job adding common features that are expected now, but also prepared the iPhone 12 lineup for the future, including MagSafe, 5G, and Dolby Vision.
If youre thinking about getting an iPhone just for Dolby Vision, or if youre wondering if its worth it, the answer is no, not right now.
Dolby Vision is still relatively new. Not many devices support it and sharing your videos wont showcase their full potential, at least on social media. But that doesnt mean that wont change in the future.
We should see a bunch of new ways to watch and share Dolby Vision videos in the future. But as of right now, just like 5G, its kind of unnecessary.
Dolby Vision alone isnt a good reason to buy the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro, even if shooting videos is your hobby. Fortunately, thats not the only thing the iPhone 12 has to offer. There are many additional new features and improvements that may give you strong reasons to upgrade, including the new design, MagSafe, and even LiDAR in the Pro Models.
Overall, having Dolby Vision prepares you for the future, and allows for stunning videos youll be able to share with your friends and family. Even if the technology isnt supported yet, being able to record video with such high quality, and even edit it right from your iPhone, is a feat that no other smartphone has been able to pull off before.
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How To Disable Smart Hdr
Unfortunately, theres no longer anyway to enable standard HDR on the newer iPhones.
For all other iPhones, you can disable Auto HDR:
If youre using an iPhone with HDR capabilities, its best to try it out for yourself before deciding to disable Smart HDR. Heres a list of current iPhones that currently offer the feature:
What Does High Dynamic Range Do
Most photographers are familiar with the problem of photographing a person with a bright sky in the background. The high exposure of the sky in the background means the camera usually compensates by making the person in the foreground look dark. Or it may make the person look ok, but the sky becomes overexposed and loses all its detail.
HDR solves this problem by taking 3 photos with different exposures. Then it magically blends these 3 photos into a single photo, with the exposures of each part of the photo set to the right level. The exposure and the detail are now set to the right level in the bright and dark regions of your photo.
In short, HDR will give you perfectly exposed photos, when used in the right situation. The photo will appear crisp and vivid, the level of detail will be good in all areas of the photo.
The good news is that you no longer need a pro-HDR camera to use this feature. You can take an iPhone HDR photo by simply turning on HDR mode. This makes it incredibly useful for anything from backyard setup to a pro vlogger setup.
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When To Use iPhone Hdr
The iPhone HDR feature is great for shooting high contrast scenes with dark shadows and bright highlights. With HDR switched on, youll be able to capture far more detail in both the bright and dark areas of the scene.
HDR is perfect for landscape photography. Landscape scenes are often high contrast, with the foreground much darker than the sky.
The photo below was shot without HDR. The brighter parts of the sky are completely over-exposed. They appear pure white with no color or detail. The darker areas, such as the boat and plants in the foreground, appear slightly under-exposed. Its difficult to make out the detail in these areas.
Now compare the above image to HDR version below. Using HDR has resulted in a perfectly lit photo with plenty of color and detail in both the foreground and the sky.
Of course, HDR isnt only for landscape photography. It can be used in other shooting situations with tricky lighting conditions.
If youre photographing an object in direct sunlight, dark shadows are likely to be cast within the scene. Using HDR will brighten up the shadows while ensuring the highlights arent over-exposed.
If your subject is backlit , use HDR to ensure the subject doesnt appear as a dark silhouette against the bright background.
The examples below show how you can use HDR when photographing a shaded subject against a bright sky. Rather than having to choose between a subject thats too dark, or a sky thats too bright, HDR gives you the best of both.
How Does Dolby Vision Work On Your iPhone
The iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max are capable of shooting video with Dolby Vision HDR. Not only using the cameras on the back, but the front-facing camera too.
You really dont have to do anything either, as the option to record video using Dolby Vision is turned on by default. That being said, if you want to disable it, or you want to learn where its located, heres how you can turn Dolby Vision on and off on your iPhone.
Also, its worth mentioning that, even though all the iPhone 12 models can shoot video using Dolby Vision, they dont have the same resolution available.
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini can record videos with a resolution of 4K at up to 30 frames per second , whereas the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max can record with a resolution of 4K at up to 60 FPS.
Of course, these resolutions, as well as using Dolby Vision will need more storage space to save them. The good thing is, you can actually edit those videos right on your iPhone by using iMovie. Its another great addition that no other device has.
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What Does Hdr Mean
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. It works to create perfectly lit photos with more color and detail in both the bright and dark areas.
Dynamic range refers to the difference between the lightest and darkest tones in a photo.
The human eye can see a much greater dynamic range than any camera. You can easily see the details of a dark subject against a bright sky. But what happens when you take a photo of a scene like that?
Your iPhone camera isnt capable of capturing detail in the very dark and very bright areas at the same time. If youre shooting a high contrast scene, youll likely have exposure problems in your photo. .
Your photo might have shadows that are well-exposed with plenty of color and detail. But the highlights are over-exposed .
Or the highlights will be well-exposed with plenty of color and detail. But the shadows appear under-exposed .
The HDR setting on your iPhone will solve these exposure problems. With HDR you can capture well-lit photos with a balanced exposure throughout.
The HDR photo above shows how much color and detail can be captured in both the dark and bright areas of the scene.
If the HDR meaning sounds complicated at first, dont worry! HDR is super easy to use on the iPhone. And it means you no longer have to worry about exposure problems in your photos.
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Use Pro Hdr X App For Ultimate Hdr Control
The HDR feature in the iPhones native Camera app is fairly subtle. If you prefer images with a more dramatic HDR effect, youll need to download a dedicated HDR app.
One of the best apps for HDR photography is Pro HDR X . It has a range of HDR shooting and editing options, allowing you to customize the final result.
The photo below was taken using the Pro HDR X app. It has vibrant colors, and lots of detail in both the shadows and the highlights.
HDR photo taken with Pro HDR X app
For comparison, below are two photos of the same scene that were shot with the native Camera app. The first image was shot with HDR switched on, and the second one is the non-HDR version.
HDR photo taken with native Camera app
Non-HDR photo taken with native Camera app
The difference between the two native camera photos is quite subtle. The HDR photo has more detail in the bright areas of the sky, and slightly more detail in the shadows. But the result is very different compared to the same scene shot with Pro HDR X.
The Pro HDR X app does a great job of creating a balanced exposure throughout the entire scene. It also produces vibrant colors that could normally only be achieved with a .
When youre ready to shoot a HDR photo, open the Pro HDR X app. The camera screen will appear as shown below.
If this is the first time youve used the app, its worth checking the app settings. Tap the Menu icon , then open Settings . Check the options are set up as shown below, then tap Done.