Adobe Photoshop is one of the most used photo editors in the world. It offers so much control over images that even seasoned users can sometimes be caught off guard by something they’ve never used before. Whether you want to make basic adjustments like color correction to your photos or use the various brushes and tools to turn them into digital paintings, Photoshop is going to be more than enough for your needs.
However, there exist a number of plugins that you can use to add even more functionality to Photoshop, often for specialized tasks. One such task is creating HDR photos with ease. If you would like to create your HDR photos within Photoshop without having to use a standalone HDR editor, then these are the best plugins you can make use of:
- Aurora HDR
- Google’s HDR Efex Pro 2
- Photomatix Pro
Often touted as the best and fastest HDR processing engine available, Aurora HDR software is great at what it does. It produces natural looking results in a very short time, without any extensive work on the user’s part. Merging multiple images into one breathtaking HDR shot is made easy with this great plugin. On top of that, Aurora HDR also comes with great tone mapping controls that can make individual images look like very convincing HDR photos as well. You can use various presets and let the software do its job automatically, or make your own fine adjustments if you wish. It also has the ability to work with RAW files, so you can be sure that you won’t lose any image quality while editing.
HDR Efex Pro 2
A part of Google’s famous Nik Collection, HDR Efex Pro 2 makes it easy to achieve great image quality for your HDR files from within Photoshop. Bringing back the information lost in your image’s highlights and shadows to get a balanced and exceptional looking image is possible with this great plugin.
Like Aurora HDR, this one also has presets and automatic adjustments to save your precious time when you just want something simple and quick. If you’d like more control, then the details of your photos can be edited after using a preset as a starting point as well.
Photomatix Pro is a direct competitor to Aurora HDR. Before the latter was famous, Photomatix Pro was pretty much the only famous HDR editor out there. It offers great tone mapping controls over your HDR files, and produces very believable results when working with singular files. There are different tone mapping algorithms that you can choose from, depending on the style you are looking for.
If you don’t agree with Aurora HDR for some reason and would like to try something different, Photomatix Pro is a very worthy alternative.
Whether you want to merge multiple images into a true HDR file or want to edit a single image to look like it is an HDR photo, you are sure to require a dedicated HDR processor at your disposal. Adobe Photoshop does have the ability to merge HDR photos too, but the control over your final result is limited. It is strongly advised that you invest a little in a true HDR processing engine if you really want your HDR images to stand out and look natural. And what best way to incorporate this processing engine directly into Photoshop itself.