30 Stunning Urban HDR Photos with Creative Commons Licenses

High dynamic range imaging (HDRI or just HDR) is a photography technique that uses greater dynamic range between light and dark areas of a scene than normal digital imaging techniques.

In this collection, you’ll find HDR photos that talented photographers have decided to share to the community by releasing them with Creative Commons licenses. The beauty and quality of these photos are absolutely amazing!

1. T&G Building

T&G Building

By Adam Selwood

2. Shimen at night

Shimen at night

By Jakob Montrasio

3. Houses


By Amir Kuckovic

4. May Day

May Day

By Ville Miettinen

5. Museo Principe Felipe

Museo Principe Felipe

By Toni Rodrigo

6. New York Sunset – HDR

New York Sunset - HDR

By Ferguson Photography

7. City on Fire

City on Fire

By Andrew Kuznetsov

8. City


By Graeme Maclean

9. Traffic


By Jakob Montrasio

10. Brisbane HDR

Brisbane HDR

By Nam Nguyen

11. Welcome to Miami

Welcome to Miami

By The Talented Mr. Nimo

12. New York City Skyline

New York City Skyline

By Alex

13. Russel Industrial Center in Detroit, MI.

Russel Industrial Center in Detroit, MI.

By Werwin15

14. Long shadows & Taxi Line

Long shadows & Taxi Line

By Ed.

15. Downtown LA.

Downtown LA.

By Steve Lyon

16. Dark Shines

Dark Shines

By Amir Kuckovic

17. Urban View

Urban View

By Andy-Kowalik

18. Centre Place Arcade, Melbourne

Centre Place Arcade, Melbourne

By Adam Selwood

19. Margaritaville


By The Talented Mr. Nimo

20. Times Square, Hudson, Sunset

Times Square, Hudson, Sunset

By Dan Lurie

21. Torre de Francia

Torre de Francia

By Toni Rodrigo

22. Roermond HDR Panorama v2

Roermond HDR Panorama v2

By Davy Landman

23. From Puerto Madero

From Puerto Madero

By Luis Argerich

24. Bratislava


By Stefan W

25. Exit


By Mike Boehmer

26. Downtown Kansas City

Downtown Kansas City

By Tyler Thompson

27. Fishing


By RKHawaii

28. Lausanne


By Ville Miettinen

29. Banyan Tree Plaza view HDR Oahu Hawaii

Banyan Tree Plaza view HDR Oahu Hawaii

By RKHawaii

30. Old Glory X 16

Old Glory X 16

By The Talented Mr. Nimo

Got HDR photos to share?

If you’d like to share your own HDR photos, provide us with links and descriptions of them in the comments.

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About the Author

Tomas Laurinavičius is a blogger and designer from Lithuania who’s currently studying Multimedia Design & Communication in Denmark. Check his work at his personal portfolio site and follow him on Twitter.

This was published on Aug 1, 2009


Bariski Aug 01 2009

These are indeed stunning, superb collection. Shared!

Zach Krasner Aug 01 2009

Awesome awesome awesome article! My favorite is the city on fire and the new york skyline… very cool!

Maxime Perron Caissy Aug 01 2009

Nice collection, but some pictures are way too artificial… I prefer a subtle HDR than a drastic fake looking picture.

Pranav Shirodkar Aug 01 2009

Excellent roundup!! Absolutely Mind boggling effects!!

Christina Aug 01 2009

Awesome collection! Thanks!

Kevin Quillen Aug 01 2009

These are great, I love HDR photography. I think when its done well it’s amazing. I like this as much as I like tilt-shift photos.

Akhtar Aug 01 2009

I love HDR photography, Thanks!

Kaplang Aug 01 2009

WOW these look amazing, totally blown away :)

RoryMad Studios Aug 01 2009

I have a 23 (yes, 23) Exposure HDR image of the Tampa Skyline, you can find it here.

Andy Kowalik Aug 01 2009

Well, I’m glad that setting a CC licence means that my photo was shared (urban view).

However, it’s slightly embarrasing as I’ve come to the conclusion that I also prefer subtle HDR, like Maxime above!

Around the time I got into playing with HDR, I wasn’t sure how far you could push it for the sake of abstraction.

Anyway, thanks! And there are so many better pictures here that I’m glad you put the list together!

Dzinepress Aug 02 2009

i really like urban creative inspirations, can share something like landscape inspiration.

Deymos Aug 02 2009

This is a collection of mostly what HDR should not be. Artificial, fake, overdone, with terrible halo effects. This collection should have been called “When things go (terribly) wrong”. I know, I’ve had plenty. :)

My word…

Most of these images have nothing to do with HDR.

So many people think they create an excellent HDR just by playing a bit around with tools like Photomatix et cetera. Wrong. It’s about High Dynamic Range.

Think about that…

Here’s a nice beginners guide:

Jacob Gube Aug 02 2009

@Andy Kowalik: As an amateur photographer myself, I know that your tastes and style sort of change as you get better; it’s like looking at Picasso’s earlier work and then comparing it with his later works: you can see the evolution in his style and creativity.

Photoclinique Aug 02 2009

Can we please put these images to bed?

I am getting tired of design sites showcasing HDR images. From my findings I can gather the following. They are way too worked images (way past what HDR means) and a lot of them are average photos.

A little more time spent before clicking the button and less in the post could supply the design/photography world with more stunning pictures.

An interesting collection, and some of these are great. However, I have to point out that I don’t think some of these are true HDR. Number 4 (May Day) and 6 (New York Sunset) particularly stand out, but not the only ones. As I understand HDR there is no way to capture a static scene like that, i.e. with people just standing around like in a regular photograph.
HDR photography, as I understand it and probably extremely simplified, involves combining several images of a scene that were shot with different exposure times (using long exposures to brighten up the darker areas). So I don’t see how a picture like “May Day” could’ve been made with HDR – the people would’ve moved between the different pictures taken.

Pete Prodoehl Aug 03 2009

Ilia, what about shooting in RAW mode and then creating multiple exposure shots from a single image? (So this would be one step above the speed of shooting with auto-bracketing, which allows multiple exposures in quick succession.)

timsky Aug 03 2009

well, my own collection of self-made hdr photos:

and my favourite hdr:

Nils Rasmusson Aug 03 2009

Interesting collection. I agree with Maxime and others that a lot of these (most?) seem to push HDR past its reasonable threshold. Captivating HDR shows off various exposures without exaggerating everything. This is all a matter of taste but I love the ones like New York City Skyline, but ones like Margaritaville just look like pastel artwork, not photographs. I appreciate them all, though. Thanks for the post.

Bradley Davis Aug 07 2009

I also agree with Maxime and Nils, some of these just seem to be pushed a little to far. But it is a great collection of stunning photos.

Keith D Aug 11 2009

Stunning is not the word, it should be… actually I can’t think of a better word.
However, Maxime makes a good point. I didn’t realise initially that they were all photos. Some of them have become drawings, paintings.

SheikhNaveed Aug 20 2009

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Tutorial using 1 JPG

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Tutorial using 1 JPG states “how to convert simple images into awesome and inspiring one”. Specially beginners will find this tutorial very useful in passion of increasing their HDR skills (HDR using Adobe Photoshop and Photomatix)

see HDR Tutorial here.

Christian Rubarth Aug 27 2009

Some HDRs are almost lookable (with a little help by a sexy architecture). Some Pics are technically bad. Like so often in HDR there are a lot of misunderstandings about what HDR really means. HDR could be used as an Effect, but it shouldn´t! :)

Ashely Adams Nov 26 2009

I don’t know much about HDR photography so i can only comment on the final result…City on Fire , Traffic and Lausanne are the ones that i liked the rest didn’t impress me much…..My personal belief is that it would be better if some photos had a little subtlety in them; Margaritaville, Urban View and Dark Shines are too artificial types….

Jorge Apr 16 2010

For my the best is New York Skyline, Awesome.

Here I share other HDR images.

really nice! I like Toshiro’s HDR photos of Japan too

Paul A. Houle Oct 06 2010

I like some HDR images and find other ones flat. I find #5 and #6 and #21 sublime, but #1, #2, #3 and #7 look more like digital noise than anything else.

If you’re interested in Creative Commons images, you might look at Ookaboo which is collecting thousands of images a day with information extraction and semantic technology.

Giovanna Jan 30 2011

I would be really interested to know where you find your images from?
Some of those were great but some just terrible :-(

Here is my London Eye HDR

three exposures all 30 secounds each, photomatrix

Hey there. I’m looking for some HDR images that are either public domain or creative commons. (Commercial) Not because I have anything worth selling right now. (I’m still learning :P) But in the future… I don’t want to have images and not be able to use -any- of them because I don’t know which ones were public domain/free to use. I’m learning 3D art and need HDR images mostly for reflections and maybe(???) some backgrounds… though I don’t know about that one for sure lol Don’t know how that works yet. The images you all have posted are absolutely lovely but I don’t want to grab them up without knowing for sure that I can lol :)

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