Art, Influencing Me, Photography

Influencing Me – Trey Ratcliff

If you have ever attempted doing HDR photography, then you will almost definitely have heard of Trey Ratcliff and his website Stuck in Customs.When I started doing them I was told to go to the website to get information about doing HDR images. There is so much there to look at and check out. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, and when you do a HDR image it allows you to do images that have very bright areas and very dark areas, so you can get an image that covers both.  It is good because you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other.

Exploring the French Prison-XLThere is something quite amazing about his HDR photography.  I could never get mine to be quite the same, but I did see a course run by him on KelbyOne and I am ready to give them another try.  Doing some things the way he does them, and using some techniques I’ve learned from other instructors there.  I have to tell you, his voice is not at all what I expected, I suppose like many of you have said about mine.

The Oldtown-XL The colours are gorgeous in his work.  He travels around the world taking photos, who wouldn’t want that. I think when it comes to HDR photography, he is the guru and the most famous HDR photographer out there.  I am sure so many of you have heard of him.

Trey Ratcliff - New York - Inception-X3There is such a level of detail in his images, that I find so attractive.  Did I mention the colours?  I think the images are hyper-realistic, but I don’t think that matters. Yesterday at the train station I took so many bracketed shots, and I want to see if I can make that train station look amazing using some of Trey’s techiques.

I have some more images for you to look at, but there are so many on his website Stuck in Customs.  He is also on Flickr and if you click on the images in his Portfolio on website then it will take you to his SmugMug account. If you are interested in learning HDR, then it is the place to go.  You can also find Trey on most Social Media sites, I follow him on Google+.


  1. hutchphotography2020 says

    Beautiful images. Deep and rich. Thanks for sharing them.

  2. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says

    These are great pictures, and I love the header. :)

  3. I have a love hate HDR relationship. My efforts are obviously wonderful but somehow, everyone else’s look a bit overdone. Seriously, my considered view from looking at a lot of HDR images is that the process tends to make all the images feel the same so I think that it should be used very sparingly.

    • Obviously, haha, I have the same feeling, there are a lot of bad ones out there, I like to do them so you can’t tell you have done it. You have to be careful with doing it, but I agree, they can look the same. I stopped doing them a while ago, but I might try again, see what I come with. See what happens.

      • I sure have! been crazy busy and about to head off to Bendigo…the CWA blog has taken a bit of work and the state fair is on on the 1st so doing something for that for the ladies and then Applefest so still have to practice my pie baking hahahah at least it’s not too hot for pastry handling…MKR meltdown otherwise! and you enjoying the nice mornings ? :)

      • You might have to let me know when the state fair is, I might come along. I am also interested in the Applefest, though the only pie I am interested in is yours. MKR meltdown indeed, tonights episode should be interesting. Take care. :)

      • State fair is at CWA headquarters on the 1st march in Toorak..i will have the details up on the CWA blog this week I think, Applefest is the 7-9th of March….and yes I look forward to tonight because I can’t stand arrogant people…I will take care you too ;)

      • So not far away for me, oh, that is this Saturday isn’t it, I’m teaching this Saturday, that could be a problem. The Applefest might be easier to get to. I feel the same way, I have started wondering if they are plants really, he can’t really be that bad.

      • I don’t know …tv producers seem to love finding obnoxious folks to put in their shows….Applefest will be busy this year..we have all the kids and partners coming up and I have stuff to do for the comps….why I do it I never know…if you go onto Harcourt Progress groups FB they should have the details :)

      • Apparently that is what we want to watch, but I don’t know who those people are. I want to see people cook, and see how they cope with it, not all the other crap.
        Sounds like you will be very busy, if I come, I will come with one or two daughters and will just wander. :)

    • Yes, many people do have mixed feelings, I think a lot of that is because they can be too overdone in the processing and look very unnatural. I think they are like doing Black and White, some subjects really suit them, you have to choose which ones to use carefully. I am hoping the photos of the train station might look better as HDR’s, will see this week when I play around with them.

  4. hawaygeordie says

    Reblogged this on Brian Parkin's Blog and commented:
    I appreciate the effort that goes into transforming this form of photograhic art. The results are amazing, when done well, and Trey has managed to do it very well!

    • They are pretty stunning, I am envious of the places he gets to photograph. He is very inspirational Jennifer, to me and many people.

  5. there is definitely something about hdr……its kind of like creating a painting. doesn’t always work but sometimes its spectacularly beautiful!

  6. Thank you Leanne, I learned a lot through Trey’s blog posts and his You Tube channel .. But still could not make nice HDRs .. One thing lacking, the practice …

  7. Trey has been a huge source of inspiration for me also. As many have commented there is a big love-hate relationship with HDR and I think you are correct, this often comes from its over-use. What I like about Trey’s work is that it’s not only the use of HDR processing which makes his pictures great. He has a great eye for composition and this results in fantastic images. The HDR just adds that next level.

    • It just goes to show how important it is to have the right image I think. That is something I am learning a lot. He does have a great eye, I totally agree.

  8. He also has an app for iOS called 100Cameras. It has 100 different effects to apply to a picture, you can adjust each effect a bit and also layer effects. That’s where I learned of him.

    • HDR is something that many people try, but it is a tricky one and one of the first things to learn is what sort of image suits it best. It is something worth trying, whether you just do it to play around with or not. Trey has some of the best examples of it.

  9. Hyper-realistic, but in a good way. I will have to check out the link as I am always interesting in learning more about how other photographers work. Thanks Leanne.

  10. He definitely is a master at the technique. He does them so very well and i don’t find any that are overly cooked. I think HDR has gotten a bad rap because of so many bad examples of it. Though, people have to realize that it is not much different (in regards to a manipulative technique) from dodging & burning in the film days. That is my take on it anyhow. I have tried it a few times and i do like the outcome, but i do need more practice.

    • There are so many bad examples of HDR out there, many of them are really overcooked, he does them very well. I like your take on it, it is a good one. I know what you mean about practice, I feel the same way.

  11. Leanne…thanks for sharing these beautiful images…i especially like the perspectives and the lines in Trey’s work…and (just to let you know) i would live to be surprised by hearing your voice!!!

    • You are very welcome, I am just pleased that you have liked them. I like those about his work as well. I have done tutorials here before and people have heard my voice, I get told they are surprised by the Australian accent, but it isn’t as strong as they thought it would be, LOL.

  12. Taking something ‘normal’ and making it look other worldly – Inspiring. I think I must go out and take some more HDR’s now. Thank you for sharing, Leanne!

    • Yes, it really can transform an image. I have been feeling the same way, I think Trey has shown me a different way to do HDR, I might have to try it out. It was a pleasure Zoe.

  13. Trey has some beautiful HDR images. Both you and Trey are among the few who do HDR very well.

    • Thank you David, that is a lovely thing to say, I hope you still feel the same way when you see the image I have put up today.

  14. It is interesting how someone pioneers a new technology and becomes the comparative litmus for our own work. I love his work, LOVE it. But having worked to find my voice with my images over a 20 year photography career and then looking at how HDR may take my work to the next leve…this is a big question for me, is it the right fit? I will keep you posted. M

    • It is so hard to find your own voice in a sea of voices, I agree, and I have done the same. I like to see what others do, but I think in the end I don’t want to be know for a technique, I want to be known for my style of work, and I will take techniques from lots of places, see if they will help my images, if they don’t I disregard them, and if they do they become part of my technique. I have bits and pieces from so many people. I would like that, please do.

  15. Wow, your work is SO beautiful <3 I love stopping by to try to learn something new and get my does of inspiration!!! I think you're amazing Leanne! <3

    • I wish I could take credit for this work Keli, but it isn’t mine, this is the work of Trey Ratcliff, it is pretty amazing stuff though.

  16. Trey is awesome at HDR plus he is a wonderful photographer. I’ve followed his work since before I even took photos. Back in the day when he responded in Facebook lol. Thank you for sharing the images and yours are incredible!!!

    • That is great to hear Laura, I’ve only known about him for the last two or three years. He is brilliant, I suppose it does become much harder to respond all the time. I have admit, I am no where near as famous as him, and I am struggling. I am finding it so hard to comment on other peoples blog, I hope people forgive me.

      • Leanne….don’t worry about responding to every comment of mine. You do a fabulous job responding and are so generous with making us all feel special, but social media can be stressful and I completely understand! Truly. 😊

      • I like to respond to comments on my blog, it is other peoples blogs that I find really hard, I look but I don’t comment very often anymore. So know that I am watching and taking note.

  17. I got introduced to HDR by following Dmitrii ( and he has a HDR primer (

    His shots are at his smugmug gallery here:

    I have no association with the guy (assuming it’s a guy), and I get no compensation for mentioning his stuff. Some of his photos are amazing, and he too tends to having a light hand when doing HDR.

    I am a member of KelbyOne, so I will check out the video you mention.

    • I Dmitrii Disperser, and I did some of his HDR tutorials when I first started. I have also featured him on my Introductions post. He is a great photographer. He is a guy. Thanks.

  18. Great post! Trey is one of my favorites too! He is the reason I have learned so much about HDR. Plus he commented on your post too. Congratulations!

    • He is an amazing photographer and does so much for other photographers. I was pretty pleased he commented too.

  19. You are right – his work is beautiful! and I like the term hyper-realistic. I’ve not been sure what to call HDR and other heavily processed images. As with the books that I read, I tend to prefer realism, but I am learning to appreciate works like these.

    • I think his work has that element to it, realism, but it is a little more as well. I think there is a lot of HDR that is way over the top, perhaps super hyper-realism, but I would be happy saying his work is hyper-realism. Some HDR is just brilliant.

  20. I absolutely love your photography and you’re quite an inspiration for me. Thanks for sharing Trey’s photography, too.

    • Thank you, such a lovely thing to say, and it was a pleasure sharing Trey’s work, such an inspiration to so many.

  21. All I have to say is, “Wow, what stunning pictures.” Thanks for sharing your wonderful photography and your influences! Definitely something that inspires us!

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