Get Better Images From Your Smartphones - Using HDR - SB Photography Studio

iPhone 6s, Back Camera 4.15mm f/2.2 @ f/2.2 @ 1/15th sec @ ISO 200, Edited to taste using Adobe Lightroom Mobile

As the old saying goes, the best camera is the one you have in your pocket and that, today, is your smartphones. Whether you have an iPhone or an Android device, you can get great pictures with your phone!

This tip will help you on getting better images from your smartphone. The following tip can be used with any smartphone that has a camera (which are all smartphone 😋)

*Note: Even though in this tutorial I'll be using an iPhone 6s, the terms and methods can be applied when using your smartphone's camera as well.*


iPhone 6's Camera App

Smartphone manufacturers make sure that the phones they sell, are easy to navigate and are intuitive for the end user. Even when using the phone's camera app, you'll notice that its simple and not cluttered with so many features. Some of you may ask how certain function work, like HDR!

The HDR feature can be found in most smartphones and it's a really cool feature. Let's learn what HDR is and when to use it!


What is HDR? It stands for High Dynamic Range! (That really helped clear things up, right?! lol) What this option does is take 3 photos in different exposures and blends them together to give you a more realistic picture of what you and I see in real life.

Each photo has an amount of data that your camera reads. The HDR function takes 3 different shots:

  • Underexposed (Dark Image)

  • Properly exposed (Standard Image)

  • Overexposed (More Light in the Image)

The camera then reads the amount of light in each photo to merge and blend together an image that's properly exposed for a high contrast scene. The question is: "When do you use HDR?"


Not all photos should use the HDR option. A perfect example would be when taking a photo of a sunset. When you focus your picture in the camera app to the sunset, your camera automatically darkens the scene causing your background to become very dark. But when you want both the sunset and the background and foreground properly exposed, you need another exposure to get it done right and thats where you use the HDR option.

HDR should be used in high contrast scenes, where there's a strong difference between light and dark areas. Here is an example of using HDR in a high contrast scene. First example will be a picture without HDR and the other example with HDR…

You may think: "I don't see that much of a difference!" But take a look at the upper green circle in the image where you see the rear windshield of the other car. The details are completely blown out (as in, you can't distinguish what it is).

Now lets see the what happens when you use the HDR option…

You can get better detail in highlighted/brighter areas and even get better details in shadowy areas.

The following list, are other places and situations where you can use HDR:

  • Sunsets

  • Someone under a spot light

  • Sunrise

  • Taking a picture of the moon

  • On shiny or reflective surfaces

  • In video (if your phone supports this feature when taking video)

And the list goes on and on…

Give it a try! You're sure to get better images using HDR. But remember to use this function wisely! It should only be used in certain situations.

Hope this tip helps you out the next time you take pictures!

Drop a comment below to let us know what you think!

Remember… Be creative. Envision. Capture.

Powered by SmugMug Log In