20 Amazing Images That Could Be HDR – But are definitely Not.

All of these images appear to be shot using the HDR tecnique, but aren’t. I promise. In most cases they have been taken with a single shot and relyied upon the elements to give the amazing effects you will see on each.

I am not asking for people to cast a critical eye over these images, just to illustrate that using different tecniques the HDR effect can be recreated.

From Wikipedia: “High Dynamic Range imaging (HDRI or just HDR) is a set of techniques that allows a greater dynamic range of luminances between light and dark areas of a scene than normal digital imaging techniques. The intention of HDRI is to accurately represent the wide range of intensity levels found in real scenes ranging from direct sunlight to shadows”.


Not HDR ShotsPhotographer Comment : “It’s not been HDR’d or Ortoned, enhanced in Photoshop or anything, it was just a great day in the field of Sunflowers”.
Photographer : Downwind.

While photographs may not lie, liars may photograph

Not HDR ShotsPhotographer Comment : “The tallest of the stones marks the entrance to a burial cairn where human remains have been discovered. An excavation campaign in 1980 and 1981 showed that the burial chamber was a late addition to the site, and that it had been modified a number of times.
This is not an HDR photo”.
Photographer : antsplan.

Not going anywhere …

Not HDR ShotsPhotographer Comment : “This is not an HDR. I repeat: This is not an HDR. This is a f/7.1, 1/125 s single exposure in Raw. The RAW was processed in Digital Photo Professional (White balace, luminance, saturation etc. were adjusted). Then imported into photomatix and Tone mapped. That tiff was taken to PS and unsharp mask, soft light layer 3% Gaussian blur at 49%, soft light layer at 15% unsaturated and inverted, burn layer at 7%, Curves, Levels, Brightness/Contrast and Hue/Saturation and very modest dodging to the clouds”.
Photographer : asmundur.


Not HDR ShotsPhotographer Comment : “I love HDR, but please, this is not HDR..”.
Photographer : Wenspics.

– DO NOT – Drink This Water

Not HDR ShotsPhotographer Comment : “Someone must have or else there would not have been a sign there… ya think?
(not hdr not hdr not hdr not hdr)
Photographer : deeva.

Bird Rock

Not HDR ShotsPhotographer Comment : “I’ve been planning this shot for about two years. Back then, I noticed how the layered slabs of rock, the sloping hills, and the horizon all seemed to point to Bird Rock in the distance, but the conditions were never good for the element of atmosphere. Finally a storm came through just before sunset and I was able to make the image I had hoped for.
A single exposure. No HDR!
Photographer : Patrick Smith.

Steam Locomotive

Not HDR ShotsPhotographer : terretta.

Little bridge

Not HDR ShotsPhotographer Comment : “Alsace – France (not hdr)”.
Photographer : Jim.Pix.

Ocean Colors

Not HDR ShotsPhotographer Comment : “Natural Sun Light NOT HDR”.
Photographer : Paulo Brandão.


Not HDR ShotsPhotographer Comment : “I personally like the sharpness and lighting. Tried to make it better with HDR. But it did not work well..”.
Photographer : CheeYeong.

Heywood Building

Not HDR ShotsPhotographer Comment : “This is not an HDR, this is from one JPEG (I forgot I wasn’t shooting RAW) using Paint Shop Pro XI’s Clarity twice at 18 and 15, then using Lightroom’s Clarify at 26. It wasn’t really a good day for shooting since it was so cloudy and dark, but those clouds turned out awesome after the processing”.
Photographer : jciv.

Rhuddlan Castle

Not HDR ShotsPhotographer Comment : “Not HDR this time, my filter system aint wide enough (yet more money to be spent) for the 10-22mm so I couldn’t use a ND grad filter, that would have made things a lot easier for me. Instead I had to shoot RAW (I usually do anyway) and expose to get the histogram as far to the right as possible without losing highlight detail”.
Photographer : Mr Messy.

Long way home

Not HDR ShotsPhotographer Comment : “I worked with alot of masks here, as the sky were quite ordinary in the first place, just greyed out. Added a color burn layer on top if it and adjusted the hue. Lightened up the foreground too.
Not some hdr or anything”.
Photographer : Doktor Dumbom.

Charbonneau Park

Not HDR ShotsPhotographer Comment : “Rest assured that this is NOT an hdr image. Wenspics magical technique creates results much like that of an HDR however, can be done with a single exposure, and eliminates the “halo” effect you most often find in hdr imagery”.
Photographer : Jonathan Michaels.

Hurry! (the silence of time)

Not HDR ShotsPhotographer Comment : “Here is a first full daylight long exposure. 12mm, f/19, 15 sec exposure. Single frame, no HDR, no tone mapping. Used a ND400 filter”.
Photographer : _Beat.

ValpoCrome !

Not HDR ShotsPhotographer Comment : “No HDR only funny experiment”.
Photographer : Vaplopando.

Il Caffè del mattino (doppio)

Not HDR ShotsPhotographer Comment : “No HDR… solo aumento della nitidezza, della messa a fuoco dall’alto e raffredamento del colore”.
Photographer : LeonDegrelle.


Not HDR ShotsPhotographer Comment : “NO HDR, no cloning/mirroring. Only Photoshop with various filters to give that cold/high-tech look. Inside an empty Mass Rapid Transit train, Singapore”.
Photographer : DanielKHC.

Lake Tekapo

Not HDR ShotsPhotographer Comment : “Cold and dark, windy and the storm is coming, defentely not the typical Lake Tekapo weather! NO PS WORKS HERE! NOT HDR!
Photographer : anthonyko.

Sunset Honda

Not HDR ShotsPhotographer : anthonyko.

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Paul Andrew

Paul is the founder and editor of Speckyboy Design Magazine. He has many years experience within the web design industry and a passion for the latest web technologies and design trends. He lives in the small town of Inverness in the north of Scotland. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.


  • Jose

    would love to see the files before manipulation, so these “photogs” are saying their manipulated to hell photos are simply amazing because they don’t have the HDR label on them? Silly.

  • Idk if calling these not HDR really applies. So they aren’t multiple exposures there is such a thing as single exposure hdr which see,s to be what all of these images fall under.

    I love HDR and think that these are some great shots and good processing, but calling them not HDR is going to cause some people to throw stones!

  • imadejerhidri@gmail.com

    They are still HDRs no matter what.. if you adjust any shadows, highlights and exposure even if u’re using the most of conventional methods then that is an HDR image, if you don’t agree then u don’t understand the true meaning of the word! cheers