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Video Tutorial: How to Make Realistic Images Faster with Aurora HDR 2018

As a landscape photographer who relies heavily on HDR to pull off much of my work, I’m always keen to learn about better ways of doing what I do. Most of the time my art tends to run towards natural looking images in contrast to the wild and crazy stuff of HDR’s reputation. The HDR software I use matters when I’m going for a more natural looking photo in my post-processing.

Going natural with Aurora HDR 2018

Aurora hdr 2018 cactus before after

You can see several examples of the natural-looking results I’m getting in from Aurora HDR in the accompanying video and the several before and after images included here in the article.

Aurora HDR 2018 delivers, even more, natural-looking photos than before

The latest version of Aurora HDR is fresh out of the factory and I’ve been in a tire-kicking session with it for a few days making several photos. As expected, it’s a worthy upgrade. Do you want to see what’s new and how it helps when you want to keep the look of your HDR photos on the natural side?

Image: Before


Image: After processing with Aurora HDR 2018.

After processing with Aurora HDR 2018.

Under the Hood of Aurora HDR 2018

The Macphun engineers have been very busy for many months re-building Aurora HDR from scratch. It’s like Walter White always says in Breaking Bad, “It had to be done.” In order to create a cross-platform Windows/Mac application, all new code was required. Big job.

The resulting product is something they can be proud of. The new HDR algorithm in Aurora HDR 2018 churns out very natural looking HDR images when it’s used correctly and with natural HDR being the goal. Of course, Aurora HDR 2018 is a perfect fit for my landscape photography work. It uses the most modern tone-mapping technology and an advanced image-processing engine, which makes very clean images, as you’ll notice in my examples.

Image: Before


Image: After processing with Aurora HDR.

After processing with Aurora HDR.


Video tutorial: Keeping it natural and real in Aurora HDR 2018

All the new features, just added to Aurora HDR 2018 in this release, bring it ever closer to becoming the only app you’ll need to process your HDR images and keep them as natural looking as you want. When you watch the video you’ll see how I use some of the new major features packed into Aurora HDR 2018 when creating my natural looking HDR landscapes. Watch the demo video:

Embracing the faster workflow using Aurora HDR 2018

You probably love photography as much as I do. Getting new tools that really help me get to my intended vision faster, or easier, or just better in any aspect, are quite welcome. They make it even easier to love what I do.

Kudos to the completely rewritten HDR algorithm and the advanced image-processing engine in Aurora HDR 2018. I’m finding that it’s speeding up my workflow significantly. That’s because of how good my photos usually look immediately after tone mapping even without even doing anything else in Aurora.

If I were brand new to photography, I’d be totally happy leaving my photos in that initial tone-mapped state with no further processing. They are that clean!

Image: Before


Image: After


Back in the day (before Aurora HDR), it could take me up to a couple of hours to finish an HDR photo. Even then, it wasn’t all that natural looking much of the time. Thankfully, things are always evolving in exciting ways.

Ever since my foray into HDR photography eight years ago, my skills have improved. But I honestly have to credit the improvements in software, like Aurora HDR 2018, for dramatically reducing the time it takes me to finish a photo to just a few minutes while getting better, more realistic, results.

Video Tutorial: How to Make Realistic Images Faster with Aurora HDR 2018

Video Tutorial: How to Make Realistic Images Faster with Aurora HDR 2018


My intention is keeping my post-processing time to five minutes per image and striving for consistently higher quality photography. Aurora HDR 2018 is a big piece in my HDR workflow making that happen so it’s now a permanent tool in my HDR arsenal.

Be sure to watch the video, then I invite you to check out more Aurora HDR images in my SmugMug gallery.

Disclaimer: Macphun is a paid partner of dPS.

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Keith Cuddeback
Keith Cuddeback

has a love of nature and other cultures that comes across in his landscape and travel photography. Based in San Francisco and specializing in realistic looking HDR photography, Keith is constantly exploring the American West and sacred worldwide destinations. He finds post-processing at least half the fun of photography and as the creator of the Perfect HDR Workflow is a champion of the amateur photographer. He’s always looking for simple tools that anybody can use to create art with their photos.

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