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An .hdr file is a High Dynamic Range Image file. HDR files store raster image data with extra information that provides a much greater range of brightness per pixel than other image formats. They can be generated by light simulation software, or created by merging several digital photographs of different exposures together.

The HDR image format contains extra brightness information that other image formats don't support. Converting an HDR image into any other format will result in the loss of that extra data. Since most HDR images are photographs, they can be converted to JPEG (.jpg) to display the image without the extra brightness data at a reasonable file size. Lossless formats like PNG (.png), TIFF (.tif), and bitmap (.bmp) will also discard the extra brightness data while saving the remaining image, but with a larger file size than JPEG.

NOTE: HDR image files may also have an .hdri extension.

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File Helper is a free web-based file utility that can open High Dynamic Range Image files and over 150 other file formats directly in your web browser. It displays file properties, including metadata, and image EXIF data, along with information about the corresponding file type. File Helper can also view and convert images to several common formats. Have an unknown file or a file without an extension? No problem — File Helper can identify over 15,000 file types.

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