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How to use SnapSeed's HDR Scape to enhance your landscape photo

Here is a great photo by our customer Pip from Lyttleton. We will use the SnapSeed's HDR Scape tool to make it even better. Please click on the image to compare before and after shot.

Mt Cook before applying the HDR scape Mt Cook after applying the HDR scape
I especially like the visual hierarchy of this photo. The tent in the foreground makes a great frame; the rocks in the middle ground provide the context, and the mountains and the clouds in the background are the main focal point.

Before we print the photo onto vinyl material like the wall dots, there are a few things we can improve here:

  1. We want to lighten up the foreground. Restore the texture of the tent, sleeping bags, the socks and the skin.
  2. Improve the contrast between the middle ground and the cloud. Bring more texture to the rocks and highlight the shapes of the cloud.
  3. The tone of Mt. Cook is a bit flat. We can make it more impressive.

The purpose of the HDR Scape tool is to bring out as much detail as possible in the photo. Human eyes can see 3 to 5 times more brightness than a mobile phone camera. This is why when you take a photo on a sunny day, the people often look much darker than you remember.

There are four different preset filters that can be accessed by tapping the Presets icon at the bottom of the screen. These presets are Nature, People, Fine and Strong. These are designed for different types of scenes. Try to experiment and see which one fits the mood of the image the best.

Our choice - People HDR Scape.
We think the People preset seems to achieve the best overall look. It's usually a good idea to zoom in when you are comparing different presets.

HDR Scape is a powerful tool but please use it with caution. If you over-do the HDR effect, you can end up ruining your image. HDR Scape will try to aggressively brighten the shadows, which will introduce noise and weird magenta patches. And the highlights will be horribly darkened into muddied grey. We strongly recommend that you fine-tune the effect by toning down the filter strength.

Too strong HDR scape will certainly ruin the photo.
This is what happened when we push the HRD Scape all the way to 100. We end up with a grainy image and over-saturated colours.

Video instructions