Verdict: 7/10 HDR Efex Pro 2 manages to make HDR relatively easy, and it produces 'good' HDR which is dynamic, rich and exciting rather than overprocessed and cheesy. It still wraps it up in a bit too much jargon (some of it specific to this particular software), but it does produce a good variety of ready-made HDR presets so that you don’t have to get caught up in the … [Read more...] about HDR Efex Pro review
HDR and how it works
HDR stands for 'high dynamic range', a style of image processing that's become both popular and notorious. It's a technique that's used to capture scenes with a very high brightness range and employs various tools to bring the brightest and darkest parts close enough together that they can both be seen in a single viewable image.
There are two parts to this. The first is capturing a series of exposures (or even a single exposure, maybe with a RAW file) that captures the full range of tones on the scene.
The second part is using 'tonemapping' or HDR software to manipulate the very brightest and darkest areas so that the details in both become clearly visible. Some programs (Lightroom, Affinity Photo) offer HDR merge and tonemapping tools as part of their regular feature set while others (HDR Efex Pro, Aurora HDR) are designed specifically or high dynamic range imaging.
Some photographers try to make HDR images look as natural and 'unmanipulated' as possible. Others revel in the hyper-real colours, contrast and detail afforded by some of the more outlandish HDR tools out there.
HDR photography relies on capturing an extra wide brightness range in a scene, which usually means shooting a series of exposures and then merging them in software. You can get dedicated HDR applications and plug-ins for this, but some regular photo editors are adding HDR merge tools too. The Lightroom HDR merge option has been around for a while, so how does it work and how … [Read more...] about Lightroom HDR: how the HDR Merge tool works
Verdict: 9/10 It’s hard to fault Aurora HDR 2019. It works as a standalone HDR application or as a plug-in. It can merge exposure brackets and it can tone map individual RAW files. It can product dense, wild and dramatic HDR effects or natural-looking images, with almost no sign of the ‘glow’ effects and other artefacts that normally make HDR so difficult to get right. It … [Read more...] about Aurora HDR 2019 review
The Aurora HDR 1.2 update announced today brings a number of new features to the Windows version and speed improvements on both Mac and PC. The new version offers RAW support for a number of new cameras and is reportedly much quicker when working with both bracketed shots and single images. New version update: Read the Aurora HDR 2019 review In fact if you shoot RAW files … [Read more...] about How to create a single image HDR in Aurora HDR 2018 1.2
Sometimes you get scenes where the brightness range is so great you just can't bring out all the different tones in the picture. This is lighting problem, not a dynamic range problem. Even if your camera has the dynamic range to capture all the tones in the scene, there's no way of showing them all. You can make the brighter parts of the picture look wonderful but the shadows … [Read more...] about Transform tricky shots with tone mapping
I was recently lucky enough to travel to Norway with Nikon to try out the new D7500 DSLR, and saw this amazing view of the town of Ålesund from the hill of Aksla alongside the town. The sun was low, the sky was bright, so this looked like the ideal candidate for HDR treatment – it was probably the only way I was going to be able to capture the bright sky and the darker ground … [Read more...] about Aurora HDR 2017 getting started guide
HDR photography can produce spectacular images. It can also produce a supersaturated, overcooked look that we've probably all seen too much of. Getting that balance right is an art in itself. For now, though, here some HDR tips for shooting and then editing your images. HDR tip 01: In-camera HDR In-camera HDR is becoming more common and it can work pretty well, but it's not … [Read more...] about Top 12 HDR tips
Wednesday Workshops are all about solving tricky little image-editing issues, and here's one to get us started. The Lightroom HDR tools built in are good in their way, but will only get you so far. Yes, you can boost the shadows, reduce the highlights, add some Clarity and Dehaze and maybe a graduated filter for the sky, but you can end up doing a lot of work only getting half … [Read more...] about Get better Lightroom HDR with the help of HDR Efex Pro
I had an interesting chat with the folks on the MacPhun stand at The Photography Show at the Birmingham NEC at the beginning of March. They were showing off two new plug-ins called Intensify and SnapHeal. Both come in standard and Pro versions, and both work as standalone apps or plug-ins for Aperture, Lightroom, Photoshop and Elements. They're Mac-only at the moment (hence … [Read more...] about MacPhun Intensify 1.0.1: give your photos some punch!
HDR (high dynamic range techniques) are sometimes necessary to cope with scenes that have a higher dynamic range than the camera's sensor can cope with. But that's happening less and less as sensor technology improves. The latest D-SLR sensors don't just have increased dynamic range, they're able to capture shadow detail with less noise than before. This means that if you shoot … [Read more...] about Get more natural results with this Lightroom HDR effect