One of my favorite photo manipulation effects is High Definition Range, better known as HDR. The colors this effect brings out along with the depth created through unusual lighting tricks adds an almost magical look to any subject. HDR photos work for unique product photos, landscapes, waterscapes, stills, and occasionally portraits.
However, most photographers lock down their HDR photos with a firm copyright, and with good reason. Anyone can create an HDR photo, but not everyone can create one that is truly stunning. Sometimes, though, an artist will provide a few creative commons HDR photographs simply as a way to get noticed. If people can share in the right way (i.e. by attributing the work to the artist with a link to the source), the more willing photographers are to provide photos for us to use.
Keep in mind that there are several types of Creative Commons licenses. The most basic CC license only requires attribution (hence the term Attribution or CC BY) – state the author’s name, include a link if possible, and then you are free to use it commercially or non-commercially, make changes, build upon it, and even distribute it. You are only restricted from putting your name or even no name on it and also from selling it outright as is.
Other CC licenses come with more restrictions, as noted:
- Share-Alike – if the term Share-Alike (SA) is added to the license, this means that in addition to the Attribution terms, you also have to provide the same CC BY SA license when using this image.
- NoDerivs – if ND is added, this means that it can still be used commercially or non-commercially but without any changes made to it and still with attribution provided.
- NonCommercial – obviously NC restricts the image from being used in any work you sell.
A CC image can have all of the above restrictions or only a few. The terms of the license then changes a bit based on which of the above restrictions are included. If you are ever in doubt as to whether or not your use is allowed with a certain image, contact the photographer to get explicit written permision. It is always better to play it safe when it comes to licensing of art.
The following HDR images are ones that fall into some sort of CC license. Each one of the following I’ve indicated the exact license, but again, always check on the license yourself just to be sure. And it’s always polite to let an artist know when you use their work so that they can spread the word to their own fans.
Melbourne Skyline HDR by Raja Syazwina RS
Hong Kong 2013 by MarkyLim
FogHDR by jjwhite01
When Sky is Falling Down by mantas j photography
Eagle Bay, Western Australia by Adam Selwood
Hong Kong 2013 by Markylim
Hong Kong 2013 by Markylim
HDR Boats by allen watkin
HDR Azure Window by allen watkin
HDR Horse and Carriage by allen watkin
2013 Presidential Inauguration Day – The White House by Glyn Lowe Photoworks
Bunker Bay, Western Australia by Adam Selwood
Cascade Creek in Thomas Bay, Alaska by mark byzewski
Sunset poppies, Beersel – Belgium by Albert Vuvu Konde
Sunrise, Les Sept Fontaines – Belgium by Albert Vuvu Konde
Kaninaskis Rainy Day by Wayne Stadler
The Rush is Over by Wayne Stadler
A single wooden escalator by Jimmy McIntyre
Attribution, Share-Alike with a link to McIntyr’s HDR Photo Blog