Some photographers embrace HDR while others completely dismiss the technique as a lower form of art because the results “looks fake.” But perhaps the reason why some shrug off HDR is due to the fact that it’s become difficult to distinguish what’s a great example of it since the web is more inundated with horrible cases of the technique as oppose to fantastic ones like the ones Trey Ratcliff produces.
HDR is just like any other effect. If you overuse it or just don’t apply it tastefully, it’ll surely become as annoying as that hideous sound effect (Auto-Tune) Hip-Hop artist use to enhance their regular voice to something more robotic. Not all projects will necessarily look good in HDR, especially photographs of people since it’s difficult getting the look and feel of the skin right. I find the photographs that were originally intended to be modified into HDR, with thought put into why and how it would enhance the photo are the most compelling ones.
By using the 15-day trial version of HDR Efex Pro from Nik Software, I like to think I was able to bring out the details that were hidden underneath the Triboro Bridge. I did all this from one original RAW image as oppose to 3. I don’t think I would have cared for trying the software had I not been able to employ it via a Lightroom plug-in.
I put myself in the category of people who considers HDR processing perhaps a bit overly dramatic or exaggerated but HDR Efex Pro gives you that ability to either keep that exaggeration or to simply enhance the specific areas that you need help with. Not sure if I could commit to paying the $99 for the plug-in because I believe it’s a style you have to fully relinquish yourself to in order to master. On a side note, from the brief interaction I had using Photomatix, I thought it didn’t come close to how much fancier HDR Efex Pro was to use.