Randy Van Duinen
Aurora HDR 2019 - Best HDR Software Ever!
Aurora HDR 2019 was released and in my opinion, it is the best HDR program on the market by far. I'm an architectural and travel photographer and use HDR programs in my workflow to get some the best images I can, but I've always had issues with noise, ghosting and the glow around windows that I always had to deal with in HDR programs. But the Skylum team has had me reevaluate my thinking with the new release of Aurora HDR 2019.
One of the biggest problems whenever I use an HDR program was photographing an interior that had a window in it with a bright exterior. There would always be this glow around the windows and I would usually have to strobe the windows and blend the images together. That's not necessary now with this new version of Aurora HDR. The developers at Skylum asked me to bring a few of my images with me when they demonstrated the beta version of the software and I picked a few brackets that I knew would be difficult to process. When Aurora HDR finished and showed me my image without any adjustments I was completely blown away. The image looks great right out of the box and with only a few adjustments I was really satisfied with how the photograph looked.
In many HDR programs when they try to remove ghosting from moving objects in the image you will end up with artifacts in your shot, especially when photographing water and waves. Again, Aurora HDR did a fantastic job with removing ghost and not leaving artifacts in the waves of a sunset shot I did on the West Coast. Waves are especially difficult in many HDR programs, you end up with dark black areas in the water that you need to go through and clone out in Photoshop, but as you can see in this photograph with Aurora HDR had none of that and I did not have to retouch the waves at all.
One other issue I have with some HDR programs is how they add an orange cast to the image and I end up desaturating the orange slider to make the image look correct. I did not see that at all with Aurora HDR and I also appreciate that the images all look very natural without having that over detailed look that you sometimes get. Of course, if you like that HDR detailed and saturated look you can move the sliders and create that type of stylized look. Speaking of sliders, I love the Smart Tone and HDR Smart Structure sliders. Both of them work really well and just by moving them a small amount really can improve your image with very little work.
Skylum asked me to create some presets for Aurora HDR 2019 for real estate and architectural photographers. When I created these presets, I wanted something that would make processing architectural images easier, so you won't find any crazy presets in the ones I created. You will find presets that I think help your workflow, so you can process your images quickly with different lighting scenarios. The best way to use these presets that I have created is to pick the look you like and then use the color eyedrop tool to color balance your image and you should be ready to go.
I was asked by one of my past workshop attendees if it was worth the upgrade to the new Aurora HDR 2019 and all I can say is yes, yes, indeed yes!