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Best way to use HDR mode to take photos on your Android smartphone: A complete guide

Do you know what HDR mode is and how to use it? Here is a quick guide for you.

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HDR or High Dynamic Range is a feature present in almost all the current phones and camera applications. Many people think that just turning on HDR makes the image look better and sharper. Yes, it’s kind of true but there is more to it. To know the best use of HDR the first step is to learn what it is and how to use HDR mode on Android

Table of Contents

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What is HDR

As mentioned above HDR is High Dynamic Range. Dynamic range in photography terms means the difference in the lightest and darkest elements of an image. When you turn on the HDR mode in any device, it increases the dynamic range beyond the actual capture. This helps create a more accurate and close to a real representation of what we actually see. Especially helpful when we click images of some landscape where brightening and better details are required. 

Yes, it’s true that it enhances the image, but HDR mode is not suitable for every situation. A prime example of it is taking a direct photograph of a scene with bright colours. HDR will gradually increase the light making the image look unnatural. Now the next question is what happens behind the scenes when you press the shutter button with HDR on. 

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Read Also: CES 2020: Panasonic unveils the world’s first VR glasses 

Working of HDR

Working of HDR
Image Credit – Mi community

When you press the shutter of the mobile camera application, the camera takes lots of pics of the same scenario with different exposure. This is the reason why taking HDR images takes a little bit more time. After taking multiple pictures it is combined to make a perfect one piece. 

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Then the software optimises the darker and lighter region while enhancing the details. This is the reason why it is advised to take HDR photos with steady hands as it gives the best results. Nowadays smartphone cameras also have an Auto HDR feature that analyses the scene and switches the mode on or off accordingly. Now the question is when to use HDR mode?

When to / When not to use HDR

When to

  • Landscapes – The outdoors especially in bright sunlight can cause way too much contrast, use HDR to reduce it and increase the blacks to balance it out.
  • Dim/dark light – As the process is software-based the HDR mode will try to compensate with the darker amount by adding some light to balance the whites in the photo, you might not see a drastic difference but a noticeable one.
  • Sharper image – Use HDR mode to get sharper images as the process captures multiple photos more details are covered in this mode. 

When not to

  • High contrast scene – When you are trying to capture a high contrast scene avoid using HDR as it will try to balance light making the image less vivid.
  • Moving object – As multiple images are captured during HDR mode a moving object can create distortion in the final result.
  • Vivid scenes – When in vivid surroundings the HDR mode will extra enhance the colours making the picture look unnatural, though it can be something a user likes and it completely depends on the individual’s taste.

Now the next question is how to use HDR mode on Android smartphone?

Read Also: Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 highlight: Super Night Scene Mode

How to enable HDR

Almost all phones nowadays have HDR mode built-in in their camera application. If you are still not satisfied, there are tons of applications available in Google PlayStore. Here is how you can turn it on.

Step 1 – Fire up the camera application on your Android smartphone.

Enable HDR

You will spot an HDR icon on the first screen itself, tap on it to enable HDR mode (OnePlus phone used for the above reference). If you do not find it on the first screen, follow the next steps.

Step 2 – Head to the camera setting to find the HDR option.


Step 3 – Toggle it on to enable HDR mode. (Samsung’s OneUI used for reference)

This is a complete guide of what HDR is and the best way to use HDR mode to take photos on your Android smartphone. Hope this helps you take good pictures and clarifies all the doubts regarding HDR you had.

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