Also, some number of newer cameras have HDR ability built in. Though, as is almost always the case, I expect you get much better results overall with an external program.
As for HDR itself, I view it much as I view just about any processing trick. It's okay in small doses. But far too many people fall for the "more is better" ethos and ruin good photos by going too far. On the other hand, they are your photos and I'm not here to tell you how to enjoy your photography.
HDR can make some impossible shots possible. I use it professionally for indoor and outdoor 360* x 180* interactive panoramas and need to capture sky and ground or shadowed areas and light instruments in a visually appealing way. The caution that others are giving is a good one, don't go overboard. If you do things don't look natural and the image looses some of the appeal given time.
I don't have a lot of experience with this software but have heard good things about it. Might be worth a shot. Open Source so it's free. http://qtpfsgui.sourceforge.net/
A couple years back a client asked me to build a brochure for a custom home building business and supplied me with a bunch of images shot by a Seattle-area real estate shooter who specialized in using HRD. The main benefit of HDR technology in my opinion is that used correctly, it can be pleasingly render an otherwise impossible shot with dramatically different lighting zones.
The interior shot below is a great example of HRD used well: the entry area at left was really hot while the bookcases to the right were in deep shadows. HDR saved the day with a composite image in which both areas were well exposed.
But when the shooter stepped outside and used the same settings for a patio image, it rendered garish, nuclear colors that simply don't exist in nature.
In my view, the bottom shot could have been better rendered by shooting a single exposure in RAW and then using an editor like DxO Optics Pro 6 to optimize lighting and contrast levels.
I don't really think his first shot is done correctly anyways. he used HDR as an easy out. Taking some strobes would probably result in a better picture in the end. they just dont look right to me. just my opinion on it. i mean he used HDR and still blew out the highlights right in the middle of the frame.
I don't really think his first shot is done correctly anyways. he used HDR as an easy out. Taking some strobes would probably result in a better picture in the end. they just dont look right to me. just my opinion on it.
I think you nailed it - they just don't look right. IMHO, that's a dead giveaway for just about all HDR images I've seen. Everything seems to be midtone in exposure with few highlights or shadows.
I should have mentioned that the guy who took these shots isn't some Richard Avedon who takes hours to set up the perfect shot with lots of artificial light. Instead, he bangs out 3 or 4 houses a day which means no time to set up lights, reflectors or scrims. The shelf life for that kind of photography is only as long as it takes for the house to sell.
BTW, that yard (and the rest of the house) could have been yours for just $2.8 million. Probably worth $1.8 million in today's market.