Verdict: 4 stars HDR Efex Pro 2 manages to make HDR relatively easy, and it produces ‘good’ HDR which is dynamic, rich and exciting. It still wraps it up in a bit too much jargon, but it does produce a good variety of ready-made HDR presets so that you don’t have to get caught up in the manual adjustments if you don’t want to.
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 for 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.
The Lightroom HDR merge option has been around for a while, so how does it work and how does it compare to a dedicated HDR tool?
Verdict: 4.5 stars Aurora HDR 2019 can create dense, wild and dramatic HDR effects, natural-looking images, and anything in between, and with out the ‘glow’ effects and other artefacts that plague other HDR tools. It also goes way further, with local adjustments, even image layers and masks. Brilliant.
HDR is a technique for photographing extra high contrast scenes, but how does it work and do you really need to shoot several exposures?
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. In fact if you […]
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. […]
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. 1. In-camera HDR In-camera HDR is becoming more common and it can work pretty […]
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 way to the […]
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 […]
Viveza 2 is part of the DxO Nik Collection, and I think it’s in danger of being overlooked in favour of the newer, flashier or more versatile plug-ins in the collection. Viveza 2 is designed to offer localised adjustments for your digital image using the ‘control point’ technology now found throughout the Nik Collection. Viveza […]