Urbanimmersive Blog

HDR Photography: A Process Older Than you can Imagine!

Date Online: 2017-10-04

Believe it or not, HDR (or exposure bracketing ), a photography technique widely used in the field of real estate, is more than a century old! A review HDR history is essential!

Photography is certainly an innovative technology; today it is easy to get a digital camera and take dozens of photos without getting tired, but it has not always been this way (far from it!). HDR is a photographic process that has pushed the boundaries of photography, especially with respect to real estate photography.

Where does HDR come from?

The HDR process was conceived well before the arrival of the digital age. Indeed, it was Gustave Le Gray, the author of the very first official photograph of a French head of state (none other than Napoleon Bonaparte!) and official photographer of the French Imperial family, who used for the first time the technique of using several exposures to make a single image; it was way back in 1850! Of course, the HDR of Gustave Le Gray is not the HDR of today, thanks to all the technological advances that have revolutionized the world of photography.

Although an HDR photo can now be taken from a smart phone (most smartphones have this built-in functionality), this photographic process is no less complex. To understand it, it is necessary to first admit that not everyone is a professional photographer simply by clicking on the button of a camera (or that of a smart phone).

What is the HDR?

The eye of the human being is able to distinguish numerous shades of shadows and lights. This ability to perceive the gaps between light and dark areas is known as the "dynamic range".

Our eyes are obviously far more efficient than the sensors found in digital cameras, since they transmit information that is not always usable when the image is captured and rendered.

To remedy this, a solution was born: HDR ( High Dynamic Range ). In this way, HDR allows one to put into practice this great dynamic range of light perceived by the human eye, allowing one to surpass and to optimize the capacities of the camera.

The basic principle of the HDR photo is in itself very simple; several shots are taken very quickly with varying exposure times. Thereafter, an algorithm takes care of making a single photograph gathering the best exposed lights and the best obscure areas of the different shots. The resulting final picture is the best of each shot in terms of shadows and bright areas.

Abracadabra, HDR photography is yours!

It takes more than a magic wand to make a picture. Despite all the technologies that are now accessible, the human eye remains the one that will immediately perceive the potential of a photo! Unfortunately, however, technology is misused. Real estate photography has been the victim ...

With HDR as its weapon, several property sales sites, in particular the AVPP sites, used this process incorrectly and thus gave real estate photos this artificial effect with a "sweet" flavor, thereby removing all their realism. HDR has evolved and this effect is no longer what the eye of potential buyers looking for a new property are looking for. On the contrary, they are looking for natural, realistic photos and recognize a professional quality HDR photo with these aspects.

HDR and real estate photography

Professional real estate photographers can all testify: making perfect photos of all the rooms of a property is a rather arduous task. The numerous windows letting in too much light, the basement where there is almost no light, and the gray days of winter are some examples of factors that influence the final result of a photograph and factors that can make it very difficult to highlight the qualities of a photographed property.

The real estate world is very competitive and real estate brokers need more than perfect photos to successfully sell a property. In order to mitigate unexpected situations when taking a picture of a property, professional real estate photographers turn more than ever to HDR. With three, six, or even nine pictures taken at different times and exposures, they are able to maximize the shadow and light play of a photo with the HDR process.

HDR comes at a certain cost; a professional real estate photographer spends thousands of dollars per year (depending on annual turnover) for professional HDR solutions offered by companies specializing in the field.

An HDR solution designed specifically and exclusively for professional photographers

Urbanimmersive has developed an HDR solution, the UiProHDR. Totally integrated into the workflow of the Centris ® Marketplace, UiProHDR (Black Room and Trigger!), offered free to Centris ® Marketplace photographers, allows professional photographers to save time and money, increase productivity manipulation of images, transfer images to Centris ® automatically, and to have at hand a solution that was conceived exclusively for professional photographers specializing in real estate. Contact Urbanimmersive for more details about the UiProHDR solution!

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