8 HDR Software Program Shootout

8 HDR Software Program Shootout

Comparing 8 HDR ProgramsIn this article we will compare 8 of the most popular HDR Processing Software currently available including:

  • Adobe Lightroom Classic CC
  • Adobe Photoshop HDR Pro
  • Aurora HDR Pro 2018 by Skylum
  • Easy HDR
  • Enfuse HDR
  • HDRsoft PhotoMatix Pro 6
  • HDRSoft Merge to 32 Bit HDR
  • ON1 Photo RAW 2018.5

*Note: You can skip reading this next part if you just want to get on with the review.

I have long avoided doing a head to head comparison like this. For a couple of reasons. Mostly because it is a conflict of interest, in two ways. In the first way, I represent.as an affiliate, some of  the companies reviewed here. So if I say something is good, how do you know it’s not just me pushing something I possibly could make money on? Secondly, It’s a conflict of interest to myself since photography and this website are my only means of making a living. So if I don’t promote things, I also don’t eat. This is why I most times would just review one piece of software at a time, do the FTC announcement to let you know that I may or may not have a financial connection to the company and then give you my honest opinion of that piece of software. That last part I ALWAYS do. But the truth of the matter is, affiliate deals are not what they were at one time and I make far more of my living selling Prints now. And I thought a good way to do this was to do the head to head, Give some opinions on how they performed but in the end NOT TELL YOU, “This one is the best!” or even give you a “Top 3” I’ll give you the info and the results. YOU make that choice, and it WILL be different for different people since HDR styles are very spread apart from Mild to Wild and not all, do all. So here you have it: 8 HDR Software Roundup.

Continue reading »

Topaz Labs Updates Adjust

Topaz Labs has released an update to their popular Adaptive Exposure Plug-in – Adjust

Topaz Adjust makes images seem more like what our eyes saw and tames some of the dynamic range inconsistencies cameras have.

The update takes into account some of the changes in Monitor technology that has occurred since the last release of Adjust. The updates include:

  • High DPI Display Support for Windows.
    High DPI monitors now display Adjust and Simplify properly. The application GUI has been updated to display correctly on 4k monitors.
  • Preserve Image Metadata.
    Adjust and Simplify now preserve all image metadata.
  • Separation of User Data and Program Files.
    Computer user accounts now store saved effects separately for each computer user. User-created presets are now saved in user specific data locations, in their own separate folder. Once you log off your computer user account, your custom effects stay private!
  • Import Your Custom Topaz Effects Easily.
    Adjust and Simplify automatically imports all of your saved effects from previous versions!

 

Just to give you a taste of what adjust can do. Here is a before and after using Topaz Adjust

 

Adjust can be used as a Photoshop  and Lightroom Plug-in or as a Plug in with their free Topaz Studio

Maybe we need to RETHINK how we think about Depth of Field

Maybe we need to RETHINK how we think about Depth of Field

It’s really about Magnification

We know some truths about Depth of Field (DOF). We know there are 3 things (actually 4 but the forth is controversial and not all agree and it would only apply if you switch cameras in between shots)

Anyway, there are 3 things that affect Depth of Field

  • Aperture
  • Distance to Subject
  • Focal Length

We know:

  • The Larger the aperture (lower f/ number),the shallower the Depth of Field
  • The closer we are to our subject, the shallower the Depth of Field
  • The longer the Focal Length, the shallower the Depth of Field

and of course the inverse of all would be true Continue reading »

ON1 Photo RAW 2018 NOW Available

ON1 software has announced that the new ON1 Photo RAW 2018 is out of Beta and now available for sale!

The 2018 version contains all these great updates to really make it a viable alternative to Subscription Software

  • New update includes HDR module, Pano module, tons of updates in masking (Luminosity mask, luminosity zone masks, global mask adjustments, color range masks and more)
  • Versions or virtual copies
  • New user interface
  • New color brushes
  • ON1 Photo for Mobile
  • A viable Lightroom® alternative available today

You can try before you buy with a 30 day trial and you can also upgrade from 2017 versions

Just click Below

ON1 Photo RAW 2018

You can watch an Overview Here

Macphun Software to become Skylum in 2018

Macphun Software announced today that they will be changing their name to “Skylum”.

The company feels that because of the recent addition of Windows OS editions of both Luminar and Aurora, Macphun doesn’t reflect that as well and may cause some customer confusion and with future offering of their ever expanding library of photo editing tools now for everyone.

You can read the entire Press release HERE

I think it’s a good idea and a nice new name

Good luck Skylum!

PT

Skylum

Why not give ON1 Photo Raw a spin for free

So I’ve written a couple posts about the new (ish) ON1 Photo RAW 2017. Really a great set of Photo Editing software that can be everyting you want it to be.

But why just trust me and my opinion? Try it for yourself!

ON1 Offers an Month long full Function Copy for free. So download it for yourself, try it on YOUR photos. See how easy it is to organize and get to the final image YOU want quickly and completely

Just Click  thru HERE

 

 

 

 

And guess what.

They have MORE free stuff?

Want some Free Lightroom Plug-ins?

You can Get them HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

AND, Want a Free Full Version of their popular ON1 Photo Effects 10

That’s right HERE

 

 

 

 

That’s a LOT of good free stuff for your After 4th Fun!

 

Exciting new Photo Editor from Topaz Labs and it’s Free!

Topaz Labs StudioExciting new Photo Editor from Topaz Labs and it’s Free!

Topaz Labs this week launched Topaz Labs Studio a full featured editor for your photos including many preset and editable filter effects and also as a host program for all your Topaz Labs Plug-ins, existing and future. Not only is it feature packed but it’s available at the best price…Free.

It has 24 Adjustment modules, all of which are active,10 are free and fully adjustable (the other 14 are active but full adjustability, if desired, are available separately or in pacs at additional cost) Along with that are 290 Preset Effects that are adjustable to taste, you can make your own presets and also share them in the community with others and pickup some of their shared effects also.

It is available in both Windows AND  Mac Os. Continue reading »

HDRsoft announces Photomatix 6

HDRsoft announces Photomatix 6

Yesterday HDRsoft announced the latest version of their ever popular HDR software PhotoMatix Pro 6

The new features are: Continue reading »

Breaking the Rules -Why you are not the Rebel you think you are

The following is a repost from my Business and Portfolio Website and blog. Posting it here in the hopes of farther reach

Breaking the Rules

Why you are NOT the Rebel you think you are

The Rules

Not a day goes by that I don’t hear a fellow photographer proclaim: “I know the rules so I can break them” then they also add in “I’m a Rebel”. I mean, I see this so often it’s actually become an annoyance and it’s really turned into just group speak. Someone said it and then everyone just repeats it without actually thinking about what it means. Well, I have. So lets take a little trip and see, what what with this.

But first a note. This article assumes you make photographs as art. The “rules” don’t apply to other photographic genres. Photojournalism is about telling a story, Sports, about capturing the moment, Commercial, about selling the product. While they may possibly contain art, it’s not a necessity. Continue reading »

ON1 Photo RAW 2017 Review – Part 1 – Why do I want this over LR-PS

Red Trees 250x250

ON1 Photo RAW 2017 Review

Part one: The Why

Full disclose per FTC. I am an affilate for ON1 Software

If you would like to see a quick video showing an overview of ON1 Photo RAW 2017 before proceeding, click this great video by ON1’s Dan Harlacher

I want to start this review of ON1 Photo RAW talking about… Adobe

?

Continue reading »

ON1 Photo RAW is HERE!

ON1 Photo RAW Press Release:

Portland, OR – December 19, 2016 – ON1, Inc. today announced ON1 Photo RAW 2017 is available for immediate download. With modern code optimized for today’s super-megapixel cameras and high-performance computer graphics systems, Photo RAW is the world’s fastest, most flexible, and easiest-to-use raw processor and photo editor on the market.

ON1 Photo RAW 2017 is tuned for today’s sensors and graphics chips. It opens 50-megapixel images in a fraction of a second on a standard PC or Mac, and performs edits in real-time, without slider lag or frustrating waits for redraw.

Continue reading »

Topaz Labs Updates Adjust and Simplify Programs

Updates to Topaz Adjust and Topaz Simplify

Topaz labs announced today two minor updates to their popular programs Adjust 5 (5.2.0)  and Simplify 4 (4.2.0)

About Adjust:
With Topaz Adjust you can give your images the soul and character you envisioned in the field! Unlike our eyes, a camera lens can’t compensate for all the tonal values we see right in front of us. If you shoot something bright, you’ll lose all the details in the shadows. If you shoot something dark, the highlights will be blown out. You can try to correct contrast, details, and vibrancy yourself, but it’s difficult to make images pop like you want.

Topaz Adjust is designed to enhance three characteristics: contrast, detail, and color. Specializing in producing vivid images, Adjust uses Topaz’s adaptive exposure, adaptive saturation, and even includes our cutting edge detail enhancement algorithms to give you the secret “oomph” ingredients that make your images stand out.

About Simplify:
Topaz Simplify gives you a set of tools to create art that only you can make. Build a wide assortment of effects such as watercolors, oil paintings, cartoons, charcoal drawings, sketches, and more. Make your art uniquely personal instead of using cookie-cutter filters and achieve better results faster with specialized digital art technology.

Simplify is designed to create cool graphical effects to quickly turn your images into sketches, watercolors, and a wide range of other graphical and artistic effects. With intelligent controls for edge tracing, details, large image features, and original image enhancement, the artistic effects and styles you can achieve are endless.

Major features introduced in the latest versions of Adjust and Simplify include:

  • High DPI Display Support for Windows.
    High DPI monitors now display Adjust and Simplify properly. The application GUI has been updated to display correctly on 4k monitors.
  • Preserve Image Metadata.
    Adjust and Simplify now preserve all image metadata.
  • Separation of User Data and Program Files.
    Computer user accounts now store saved effects separately for each computer user. User created presets are now saved in user specific data locations, in their own separate folder. Once you log off your computer user account, your custom effects stay private!
  • Import Your Custom Topaz Effects Easily.
    Adjust and Simplify automatically imports all of your saved effects from previous versions!

New Effects.

  • Adjust 5.2.0 comes with 18 new effects. New notable effects can be found in the Stylized Collection, the Vibrant Collection, and the Toned Section.
  • Simplify 4.2.0 has 12 new presets in the Detail Removal and Enhancement, Line and Ink, Painting, and Sketch Collections.

 

As always, updates for current users are free

To learn more, get free trials or buy, click the links below

Topaz Adjust 5

Topaz Simplify 4

Luminar – New Photo Editor from Macphun – Release and Review

Luminar – The new Photo Editor from Macphun (Mac OS ONLY)

Today, Macphun software introduced Luminar their new all in one photo editor. (sorry Mac OS only)

The key features are the ability to design the Workspace to how you work, Adding or subtracting Modules (filters) to show only the ones you find necessary and work with often but always having those other modules  available. The other key feature, if you want to call it that, is simply…price. At $69 normal price (there are some savings I will talk about at the end of the piece) That’s pretty darn inexpensive in the world of editing software especially when you consider how much power and versatility is built into Luminar. Now I’m a big Adobe fan and have been a user of Photoshop since Photoshop 2. so that’s quite a long time. And currently a membership to Photoshop CC/Lightroom is $9.99 a month. Now for a professional like me that’s a small expense relative to the other expenses of running a business. Not everyone is a professional but what if you could get software that offers Pro level performance at a price that’s greatly affordable to people that don’t do this to earn money. That’s where Luminar comes in and very strongly. Even a Pro may find the feature set to be everything they need. Continue reading »

Aurora HDR Pro 2017 Performance Review

Macphun Software last week released the newest version of Aurora – Aurora HDR Pro 2017 a MUCH improved version of their Mac Only HDR Software

Now you may have noticed something, I never did a review of the Original Aurora HDR Pro, which may seem odd for a site dedicated to HDR. The reason was, it simply was not up to my standards and not ready for prime time. This really is not that unusual for 1st releases. The same was true when Nik Software released HDR Efex Pro. It just wasn’t good but when they ramped up to do release  2 and they consulted with the HDR crowd including me, they released a great, for the time, HDR software. So the fact that a first version wasn’t that good is pretty normal. Aurora certainly had the feature set right, but for me the only thing I am interested in is performance and it was there that it lacked.

All that has changed with the release of Aurora HDR Pro 2017. Continue reading »

Why Dynamic Range is NOT Tonal Range

Why Dynamic Range is NOT Tonal Range

Now, it could be…but it’s not

It’s like a square is a rectangle but a rectangle is not a square…so let’s explore this

I recently was reading an article explaining dynamic range, in it, the author went on to explain when a camera has a limited dynamic range it will only show shades of gray not black and white. And I thought, no, that’s limited tonal range, not dynamic range.

Most everything we use in photography has a Full Tonal Range when lit with the same constant light source

  • Our Eyes; can see the full tonal range from Black to White
  • A High End Camera; can reproduce the full tonal range from Black to White
  • A Low End Consumer Camera; can reproduce the full tonal range from Black to White
  • Most decent LCD Monitors: Can produce a full range of tones from Black to White
  • Most Better Photo Printers: Can produce a NEAR full range of tones from black to white (Limited by Paper white {DMin} and Black Ink (DMax} )

Continue reading »