HDR photography seems to be on a global rise these days thanks to the great image quality and dynamic range the resulting images have. It’s a very useful technique that every photographer should know of because it can come in handy when you are faced with tricky lighting situations during landscape shoots or when the sun is behind your favorite building.
HDR photography combines differently exposed images of the same subject to merge all the best exposures and produce one photo with highly adjustable dynamic range. You will, more often than not, require the help of an advanced HDR editor to get full control over your images. Up until recently, the only player in the game seemed to be Photomatix Pro. That, however, has changed in recent years with the birth of many dedicated HDR editors that are equally good as Photomatix Pro, if not better.
Here we will focus on two HDR editors that you might want to consider as alternatives to Photomatix Pro. The first one is aimed at all kinds of photographers, from beginners to professional while the second one focuses solely on making the process of creating HDR photos a breeze.
Created by the company Skylum (ex Macphun), who have a portfolio of many other image editors as well, Aurora HDR is a one stop solution for anyone who wants to take a shot at HDR photography. The easy to master interface is coupled with highly advanced HDR toning tools so everyone from a novice to an HDR master can use the program for their work.
Aurora HDR is not only good at merging images into HDR files, but also at making single images look like very convincing HDR photos thanks to its excellent tone mapping engine. Other than that, you can use the various preset settings to give your images a quick makeover without doing any hard work yourself.
The software not only comes as a standalone editor but also can be used as a plugin for the likes of Photoshop and Lightroom, making it a great choice for people who don’t want to use separate editors for specialized tasks. The overall results are very natural and aesthetically pleasing, without any over processing. If you want a software that is easy to learn and lets you grow as an HDR editor over time without having to invest in something more powerful, Aurora HDR is our pick for the best Photomatix alternative today.
Many people new to HDR photography may want something that is very easy to use and extremely affordable. For them, EasyHDR is the answer. The program aims to make the process of creating HDR photos easy for beginners. With its simple interface, automatic presets and tools, it doesn’t require too much work on your part to get a good looking image. EasyHDR is known for producing very pleasing results so it might be a very good choice for you if what you need is something to give you a taste of HDR editing. And for just $30, it is not a bad deal in any way imaginable. Just note that if you want to take up HDR photography long-term, then EasyHDR will start to feel a little limited compared to Aurora HDR or Photomatix Pro after some time.