How to Use Your iPhone Camera's HDR Setting

How to Use Your iPhone Camera's HDR Setting

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and it works by capturing three different exposures of the same image and then combining them into a single image. This can be really helpful when your subject includes a large range of lights and darks and you want the details in the darker parts of the photo to be visible without overexposing the lighter sections.

You can select the HDR mode you prefer in the top menu bar of your iPhone's Camera app. Choose HDR On or HDR Off if you want to control whether to take a photo in HDR or not; select HDR Auto if you want to let the iPhone's camera determine whether HDR is appropriate. 

If you want to be able to compare the differences between your HDR and non-HDR images, go to Settings>Photos & Camera, and toggle on Keep Normal Photo before you start taking photos. The HDR and non-HDR versions will both be saved to your All Photos album.

As you can see in the following images, the iPhone's HDR mode is kind of weak. You can barely notice a difference between the regular image (left) and the HDR image (right). However, you'll notice that the clouds in the HDR image are much more clear.

Hopefully Apple will improve this really useful feature in the future; in the meantime, if you often find yourself taking pictures that would benefit from using HDR, consider getting an HDR app like HDR Pro X ($1.99) or vividHDR ($1.99). Feel free to chime in in the comments with your own HDR app recommendations.


Top Image Credit: lzf /

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Sarah Kingsbury is the Senior Web Editor of iPhone Life magazine. Previously she wrote for and was the Associate Editor of the Iowa Source for many years.