Updated: Jun 14
HDR is short for High Dynamic Range. In photography, the “dynamic range” is the difference between the darkest and lightest tones in an image, generally pure black and pure white. It's more often used to describe the maximum dynamic range a camera is capable of.
In my humble opinion, HDR processing makes the image look more evocative.
HDR is a post-processing technique of taking a series of images, combining them, and adjusting the contrast ratios to do things that are virtually impossible with a single aperture and shutter speed.
An HDR image is commonly made by taking up-to five images of the same scene, each at different exposure. The result is a progressive series of images from under to over exposed, based on the amount of light that passes through the lens. A software process then combines all the photos to bring details to both shadows and highlights.
To get the best from HDR, you need to shoot in RAW. Most drones are capable of this and DJI shoots in its own Adobe DNG format. The DNG, or adobe Digital NeGative is a lossless raw file, so it has recorded all of the data from the camera's sensor that could be captured. Additionally, when considering JPEG vs RAW, it’s a good idea to understand the file size as RAW files are five times the size of JPEG files. A typical DNG file (RAW file) takes up around 34,000 KB, while a JPEG is only around 7,000 KB.
Terra Recon use Apple devices including iMac for post-processing. We use Affinity Photo for still image processing, which works well for us.
I process most of my still images use the technique, and if you are new to it, then you may notice a slightly different “look and feel” to the photographs. There are all kinds of nerdy technical things I can say about HDR, but in case you are like me, you can learn best by example. I posted an example of HDR photos below.