How to Salvage a Blurry HDR Photo Taken With a Smart Device (by Extracting Its Thumbnail)

Many smart devices now come with a built in HDR camera function so that you can easily take a photo containing a wide range of shading and lighting. However, since these photos are a combination of multiple exposures over a short time, they can come out blurry if there is any camera movement or action in the shot. Even so, your device will usually save just one of these exposures to use as a thumbnail, which you can extract after uploading the image to your computer.

Step 1: Browse to Your Device's Picture Gallery

Here you can see your stored photo and determine if the thumbnail is a clear exposure.

Step 2: Connect Your Device to Your Computer Using Its USB Cable

Step 3: Use Windows Explorer to Browse Your Device When Prompted

In order to access your files, you may need to unlock your device if it has a screen locking feature, such as a swipe pattern.

Step 4: Find the DCIM Folder

Most mobile devices have their photos stored in a folder called DCIM. Inside this folder there may be a subfolder labelled "Camera," "Pictures," etc. This is where your photo gallery is located.

Step 5: Find the Corresponding Picture and Drag It to Your Desktop

Having it on your desktop makes it easier to find it and directly edit it.

Step 6: In Order to Extract the Thumbnail, You Will Need a Specialized Program

I recommend JPEGsnoop. It's very lightweight (less than a megabyte) and doesn't require an installation.

Step 7: Open the Zipped Folder and Extract JPEGsnoop to Your Desktop

It's nice to have both the program and the photo in one place for ease of use. We can also extract our finished product to the desktop.

Step 8: Open Your Photo in JPEGsnoop

Open JPEGsnoop.exe. Go to "File," then "Open Image..." and select the picture you extracted to your desktop.

Step 9: Use the Export Feature to Extract Your Thumbnail

Click on the Tools tab, and select "Export JPEG." In the following dialogue box, check "Extract All JPEGs" and click OK.

Step 10: Save the Extracts and Check Them!

Your should now have two photos on your desktop or wherever you decided to save them. One will simply be the original, full sized HDR image and the other the thumbnail.

The thumbnail will be lower resolution that the original picture, but at least it is something we can work with!



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