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Best HDR Apps for the IPad

Updated on May 24, 2012
BY-CC via Flickr
BY-CC via Flickr | Source

HDR on the IPad

HDR photography is a really fun and creative way of taking photos. It normally takes fancy tonemapping software and other photo editing software to get great results, but now you can experiment with HDR photography on you IPad. However, there are a few things you need to know before you start spending your money in the app store.

True HDR vs. Pseudo HDR

When you start looking at apps for your HDR photography you need to determine if the app takes true HDR or pseudo HDR. Most camera apps on the IPad will take pseudo HDR photos. This means that the camera takes a normal photo and then adds a filter that bumps up the contrast and saturation. This is a great option if you enjoy HDR photos that look more artificial and "HDR-ish". However, if you are looking for an app that produces more realistic results you will need to choose an app that takes true HDR photos. The easiest way to determine if the app takes true HDR photos is to determine if the app requires multiple photos. It the IPad app requires you to take multiple photos in succession then it is more than likely true HDR. If it only takes one photo and then gives you a result this is likely pseudo HDR.

Best HDR Apps for the IPad

I have decided to only include apps for the IPad that take true HDR photos. This means that these apps will require you to take multiple photos. Taking true HDR photos will always create better results and provide more artistic control for the person using the app. When using these apps you do need to realize that you will need to hold you IPad very still. When using an actual camera most photographers will use a tripod to hold the camera still, but unfortunately cannot mount an IPad to a tripod. The best thing you can do to get quality results is to prop your IPad on a stationary object. If you don't hold your IPad perfectly sill you will get a blurry image or something called ghosting. Ghosting is when an object appears twice in a photo due to movement.

1. True HDR App

True HDR ($1.99) is probably the best option when looking for an app that provides true HDR photography. It doesn't actually take 3 photos like a HDR photographer would do, but it does take an over exposed and an under exposed photo and then merges them together. The best thing about the True HDR app is that it allows you to make adjustments to your final photo. The app also provides technology to help prevent blurry photos, by aligning source photos for you. This is a great feature since you are unable to mount an IPad to a tripod. Another interesting feature is that the app will automatically save the original photo to your IPad, so if you decide you don't want to go the HDR route you will still have the photo you took. Overall, I recommend this app for any HDR photographer who wants control over their photos and doesn't care much for the over the top look that so many other HDR photographers enjoy.

2. Pro HDR App

Pro HDR ($1.99) is another great HDR app for the IPad. This app will automatically take an over exposed photo and under exposed photo much like the True HDR app. Once you have a merged photo you can then make several adjustments to the image until you create something you really like. The one thing I noticed about this app is that the "HDR Look" is a bit heavy-handed even after playing with the sliders. However, I do know that many HDR photographers really enjoy the heavy-handed look of many HDR photos. This app is actually very similar the True HDR app that is mentioned above except in the way in tone maps the files. I personally prefer a more realistic image so I prefer the True HDR app, however, I am sure many people will equally enjoy this app. Pro HDR seems to process the images really quickly and does an excellent job aligning them. Overall this is a great HDR app.

Which app is best?

Both apps do an excellent job capturing real HDR photos. It is really difficult to determine which is best since they are so similar. It really comes down to personal taste on how you like your photos to look. If you prefer a more realistic image you will likely enjoy True HDR more. However, if you enjoy vibrant colors and contrast you are going to like Pro HDR more. Each app is only $2 so if you can afford it, I recommend that you try both and see which gives you the results you enjoy most. They are both quality apps that are worth every penny.


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    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great hub Kevin. I've downloaded your first suggestion to try out. So far it's easy to use. I'll have to see how I can apply it to my hubs once I send a few pics to my PC through Dropbox.