HDR (high dynamic range) photos are getting a lot of buzz now, especially since Apple built HDR capabilities into the iPhone 4. While the official Apple implementation is pretty good, I still suggest photographers take a look at third party offerings which have more options, and in my opinion, some of which do a better job.
TrueHDR today updated its US $1.99 app, and added a "Natural" mode, which makes the colors more realistic and reduces noise. The developers claim the natural mode uses new image processing techniques that have been written using all new programming. Note: TrueHDR is on sale for $0.99 through December 4th.
The app allows you to take an image in fully automatic mode, semi-automatic and manual. I used all the modes, but preferred manual to select my light and dark points. Read on to see why.
I found the results pleasing, and indeed improved from the previous version. If you like your colors more vivid you can still select that mode from the settings menu.
True HDR is definitely improved, but all the processing takes a toll on speed. The app also asks you to merge the photos after you take them. I prefer to have the software just go ahead and do it.
HDR is still controversial. Some like it a lot, others hate it. I think it can be overdone, but in some high contrast situations, I think it is very valuable. The built in Apple HDR is quick, but does not seem to capture the dynamic range that TrueHDR or competitor Pro HDR can.
You can see a whole lot of sample TrueHDR images to get an idea how the process works here.
Check the gallery above for some comparison images. They aren't meant to be perfect images, just quick snaps in a high contrast scene to show the differences. I think you'll find trying HDR on some of your outdoor or high contrast indoor holiday photos will definitely improve them.