Tag Archives: HDR photography

Fotor HDR is starting to see more action for iPhone HDR Photography

As promised, an update on the Fotor HDR post I did earlier (Fotor HDR wants to replace… ).

The first pass at anything new is usually, ‘how does it stack up against what I already use’. Which can be good if your current solution is your only path. In my case, I have always experimented with different types of photography. This means I have to continue to use a technique even if I wash it out initially since it may open my eyes to new things.

While Fotor HDR matched up pretty well to my current add-on HDR app selections, it needed to find it’s specialty to start to shine. Over the last week+, I have used it for quick snap shots, occasionally adding one of the built in filters, but trying not to edit outside of the app. Two areas I have found Fotor HDR really kicks things up a notch is in the area of Nature Photography and Black and White. With that in mind, the app was moved up the list in my sort order of camera apps to grab. Having the right apps to choose from to reflect the mood of the moment is the beauty of digital photography. It keeps a level of fun in the fine tuning of shooting without having to carry a big bag of lenses around like I did for years for film.

01 Fotor HDR iPhone

02 Fotor HDR iPhone

Fotor HDR Wants To Replace Pro HDR On My iPhone

Today I saw some chatter on the Internet about Fotor HDR. I’m a fan of well done HDR so I’m always game to see what a new HDR iPhone option has to offer. A bit of reading gave me an answer I didn’t want to see, the app uses two photos to merge.  The HDR process outside of smartphones is done by bracketing three photos, not just two. With two photos being used, the impact of the final image is up to the creativity of the app developers.
Fotor HDR starts with the option to have a grid overlay on the viewfinder to make sure photos taken individually are aligned. The app offers two shutter options. One takes photos, one after another and saved to the app’s photo folder, without stopping so nothing is missed. Or, a single shot mode that snaps two photos to merge into a single.
Take the time to visit the Settings area, there is a nice anti blur/anti ghosting switch which will help avoid the white ghost outline around objects when photos are merged by the app.
01 fotor hdr iphone
After the photos are merged, a finger swipe up/down reveals the areas of photo tuning built into Fotor HDR. Along the bottom of the screen is a row of full image filters.
02 fotor hdr iphone
Pro HDR does offer the ability to tap the screen to set the initial photo’s bright/contract spot. While Fotor HDR has a bullseye to slide around to set while Pro HDR doesn’t have an indicator of the spot chosen, just where you tap with your finger. Which can be tricky when the point being chosen is a small spot. After the photo is captures, a single page gives access to sliders to tune the overall image.
03 hdr pro iPhone
Filters are available in Pro HDR also, just a different user interface. Both solutions have a nice variety of creative named filters, neither really offer what a photographer would find as HDR adjustments on desktop photo solutions.
04 hdr pro iPhone
Here is the result of a snap taken with Foto HDR without any filters or tuning adjustments applied.
05 fotor hdr iphone
And… a shot done with Pro HDR, again without filters or tuning done. I attempted to get as close a shot as the previous. If one is taken higher than the other, the app will see the brightness of the notebook’s screen and cause the result to be different so not a apple vs apple.
06 hdr pro iPhone
I resized the two resulting photos above to fit on the page. Actual highest resolution out of the apps is:
Foto HDR  1916 x 2555
Pro HDR   2422 x 3232

3 Shot Bracket Photography Comes To The iPhone with PureShot

I have covered HDR photography here before. The iPhone camera and many apps take two photos at different exposure settings and merge the images to lighten the dark and make the light areas really pop. That of course is over simplified, I’m not going for an HDR lesson in this post.

When a person finds an HDR photo on the Internet, there are three types. The basic two image merge like what is found with the iPhone’s built in camera app, there are enhanced HDR where an app is used to alter a single image for the effect and finally the images produced by a digital camera. The digital camera version usually has more natural looking lighting but everything has more vivid contrasts. The images are closer to what we see with our eyes instead of through the limitations of a smartphone camera lens unable to collect all the differences an eye can.

The digital camera version is partially due to ‘better’ or ‘specialized’ equipment… not many digital cameras have games on them or allow to be used to call mom. And, instead of two images merged, the camera captures 3 images, most common called ‘Bracketed’. The images are 3 photos taken quickly after each other so they align, but at different exposure settings. Then, via a desktop app, the photos are merged together and enhanced or cleaned up. The 3 bracket photos providing much more contrasting information to work with than only 2.

On the iPhone, app developers attempt to do the whole process of HDR so they keep it within the power of the iPhone edit capabilities, only collecting and merging two photos.

PureShot was recently updated with the feature of snapping 3 Bracket shots to be used with desktop editing software rather than being all things to all people.

The app still has more features and gadgets than the average iPhone photographer will need. But, if you are looking for more control over taking the photo and less worried about having to edit later, PureShot is the tool to be in your iPhone Camera Bag. Complete control over focus and exposure points, being able to lock both along with the focus point. The app collects a lot of data with the photo too so sharing has data that most other apps will happily use.

01 3 shot braket on iPhone

If you dip into the Menu area of Pureshot, choose  Shutter Settings, then Shutter fires, you will be given the options to have your iPhone (via PureShot, not when using the iPhone’s default camera app) capture a single image, 3-Shot Burst, or 3-Shot Bracket. Use the 3-Shot Bracket if your going after collecting 3 images for editing into a high quality HDR photo via your desktop computer.

02 3 shot braket on iPhone

Now, when looking through PureShot’s viewfinder, you will notice the addition of a ‘2’ and ‘3’ spot. Just drag those to contrasting exposure spots on the area you are going to photograph. Perhaps ‘2’ to the darkest area and ‘3’ to the brightest (don’t forget to tap the screen to focus!). When the big orange shutter button is tapped, 3 Shots will be taken with about 2 seconds between each. The slight delay allows the camera to adjust to the different exposures rather than an over all photo and attempting to fill in later. There are three small dots next to the shutter button that change from colored to blank as the three shots are taken and saved to the iPhone photo library. Now, export the three photos to your favorite HDR app on your computer and create some real bracket HDR images.

03 3 shot braket on iPhone

Another iPhone HDR photo app, this one with a ton of fine tuning tools

I have covered several HDR photos apps for the iPhone. Some create a HDR like photos by applying filters to lighten the dark areas and push the bright colors with a bit of a boost. Then, there are a few that take actual HDR photos which is to say they take multiple images and merge them together.

A new option (to me) is iCamera HDR. The developer claims it is the first true HDR photo app in the iTunes store… I’m not sure about that claim since I have been using a few options for years now. What intrigued me about iCamera HDR was all of the fine tuning that app lets you do to the images. After you snap the photos (manual or automatic) and the pictures are made into one, there is a long list of adjuster sliders to tweak your iPhone photos to really bring out the strong parts.

The settings area is pretty extensive too if you want to get defaults set up. Then, when getting ready to take the image, there are last second options through the buttons around the camera button for stabilization and auto/manual.

Top Camera for iPhone gets 9 new HDR filters

I have mentioned HDR (high dynamic range) photography before… two photographs of bright and dark merged together for a single image. The photos can be rather energized since your able to see a full range in a single photo.

Previously, I talked about an app that snapped two photos and merged for you. The Top Camera app developers recognize that there isn’t always enough time to take the two photos and wait for the merge. The app offers true HDR photography, but with this update you can ‘fake’ it a bit. The app now comes with 9 filters across a range of HDR and Clarify enhancements. Each effect can be applied and then adjusted with a slider to get the desired impact you were looking for in the single image.