The Future of Social Media Is Here: Instagram and Threads Introduce HDR Photo Support

The Future of Social Media Is Here: Instagram and Threads Introduce HDR Photo Support

Instagram and Threads have recently announced the integration of HDR (High Dynamic Range) photo support, a significant advancement aimed at enhancing visual content on their platforms. HDR technology is designed to preserve the full spectrum of colors and dynamic range captured by a camera sensor, resulting in more realistic and captivating images.

This update includes broad compatibility across major platforms such as iOS, Android, and popular web browsers, ensuring a seamless HDR experience for users. The process of enabling HDR support is automatic for most mobile users, requiring only up-to-date operating systems and Instagram apps. An HDR compatibility test can also be performed here.

The process of capturing and uploading HDR photos on Instagram is pretty straightforward, though the feature is currently focusing on images taken with smartphone cameras. The image format support for the upload process is quite wide, encompassing JPG, HEIC, and raw.  

Despite the remarkable progress, challenges such as limited HDR support for certain images and potential compatibility issues with third-party camera apps still exist. However, we can anticipate further refinements and support from Instagram and Threads for future ongoing improvements to enhance the overall HDR experience.

In short, this integration of HDR support in both the major social media platforms marks a significant step forward in pushing mobile photography to the next level at the same time offering users an enhanced visual experience and paving the way for future innovations in digital storytelling on social media platforms.



Zhen Siang Yang's picture

Yang Zhen Siang is a commercial photographer specialising in architecture, food and product photography. He help businesses to present themselves through the art of photography, crafting visually appealing and outstanding images that sells.

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Haven’t you read that Instagram and Threads are part of the anti-social media? Does it really matter that these apps will have HDR support? Will we notice the difference? Will the average user care?

Those who care will care and the difference is pretty drastic if your display does support HDR.

Hi Zhen.

Did you write this yourself. I’m left with the impression that this is the work (partly) of maybe ChatGPT.

Regards Rasmus

Thanks for voicing your opinion, tho your comment doesn’t look normal.

Regards, have a good day

Thanks for reading

What HDR format specifically? You mentioned only an unknown JPEG format, (is it j2000/J2k, JPEG XL, JPEG XR, JPEG X[something Else]), HEIF, which, (unless you mean AVIF in a HEIF container, instead of HEIF/HEIC), is pretty much dead, (mostly because it is limited by patients & hardware), and raw, (which can mean any of many incompatible formats, & are not image formats intended for publishing finished images).

The only two ubiquitous finished image HDR formats currently are16-bit PNG, (which are too large), and AVIF, as they are both compatible with all browser and OS choices, (unlike JPEG 2k, JPEG XL, JPEG XR, HEIF/HEIC, and whatever is meant by, “raw”). Even 16/32-bit TIFF will not fit the bill as being common browser supported, (and is also a large collection of formats, & not a standard per se).

In short, this article was not informative where it would matter. Looking forward to an update for more helpful specifics, such as which raw formats, which HEIF formats, which JPEG formats, and a more comprehensive list than, “including these vague three.”

Interesting also, is that only the Meta platform —Facebook & Instagram— was mentioned regarding the acceptance of HDR images in social media, as if Zuckerberg is the be all & end all of social media. Mentioning other web platforms with HDR image support, (and what those formats are), may actually be nice.

It may also be helpful to discuss how HDR images may render on non-HDR monitors, to see if that is what people may want, anyway.

FULL DISCLOSURE: In my own work, I moved on to WebP as my default published deliverable (with JPEG JFIF as a fallback) about a decade or more ago, and more recently, moved on to 10-bit HDR AVIF as my default published deliverable (with WebP as a fallback) a few years ago. My default intermediary deliverable has been, and still is, OpenEXR. I never send raw, (i.e., PEF/DNG), unless they pay the big bucks for it. (So far, two clients, and both worth it. More money, less work, and quite niche, so not published in my portfolio).

Thanks for your suggestive comment Karim, this is generally a basic news only to update our readers on the start of support on HDR images. A more in depth article might come once the supports widens on social media platform.

Do you have any resources you would recommend to get started in true HDR photography? Any time I try to search for anything, all I find are tutorials on how to do that fake "HDR effect" with all the halos around everything that was popular a decade ago. I know how to do exposure bracketing already Google lol.

HDR10 uses 10-bit color, and HDR+ uses 12-bit color.
By shooting in uncompressed raw, you are probably already starting with 14-bit color images, with an least two stops more dynamic range than AVIF @ 12-bits, and already better than HDR+ monitors. (The worst raw image file format for DSC systems today is an least 12-bits, and the best is currently 16-bits, IIRC).

Use a photo app which uses a floating-point pixel pipeline, (which is pretty much all except Adobe products, which still use an integer pixel pipeline). Also, use an app which can output AVIF, which, again, is almost all except Adobe products, (which only recently started supporting WebP, now that it is being replaced and does not support HDR).

Many apps support JPEG XL, which supports HDR images, (up to 16-bit color, IIRC), but that is generally not web-friendly. I believe all OSes support JPEG XL, but most digital picture frames do not. (Generally, most picture frames do not support HDR, and only support JPEG JFIF/SPIFF/EXIF).

Thank you for letting us know. I am still struggling with the existence of Threads. I don't get why I need it next to all the other message apps. Sorry, doesn't hit the topic. But I like the idea to present HDR proper.