It’s an unfortunate aspect of the combination of experience and aging that I can admit my origins as a photography go back to film and darkroom processing. I’m a child of the Kodachrome generation and have plenty of SLRs and a variety of lenses and tools that date back to the last century.
That was then and this is now, and photography, what have you done for me lately?
The answer is an astounding level of photographic capability resides in the hands of every iPhone-toting Mac user; both of which offer tools that were not even dreamed about in the Kodachrome era, but are available for paltry sums today.
Your iPhone can compete with low end DSLR’s today. Your Mac doesn’t just compete with photo processing from yesteryear, it exceeds the imagination.
Let’s take HDR photography as an example.
HDR is a technique used in imaging and photography to reproduce a greater dynamic range of luminosity than is possible with standard digital imaging or photographic techniques. The aim is to present the human eye with a similar range of luminance as that which, through the visual system, is familiar in everyday life.
Today’s newer iPhones can produce HDR images, but you still need software to make the magic happen. That’s where the Mac app Aurora HDR Pro comes in to deliver stunning images from normal, everyday, smartphone photos.
Here’s an example.
That’s the power and beauty of HDR processing, made easy on the iPhone and fully customizable using Aurora HDR Pro on the Mac, which spans the gamut, so to speak, from natural HDR to highly stylized HDR.
How do you get such photos?
First, it’s best to start with true HDR photos which is where the iPhone excels by providing multiple images from a single shot, each with varying degrees of exposure. That sets the table for HDR processing.
Second, Aurora HDR Pro has a gentle learning curve that ranges from simple point and click presets to professional level granular controls.
Point. And. Click.
While Aurora HDR Pro is simple to use even for beginners to HDR, thanks to the one-click presets, there’s much more going on. The professional level tools include layers, masking, and brushes. Radiance controls and custom texture blending provide effects not available in the presets.
Photographers will appreciate the color and toning controls, while professionals who use Photoshop or Lightroom will give thanks for the plugin options. The app supports JPG, TIFF, RAW and other standard photo file formats, and it’s a good internet citizen with plenty of options to share photos with others.
Here’s another before and after sample which takes an underexposed image and gives it depth and clarity.
The HDR look is rather straightforward to attain from nearly any image– slightly over exposed or under exposed– but works even better with traditional HDR shots taken from your camera which do the exposures automatically.
Aurora HDR Pro is an app from Macphun, the makers of the popular Creative Kit for Mac photographers and professionals.
HDR isn’t for everyone, of course, but it has its place. Thankfully, there are plenty of Macphun user guides, instructional resources, and other options to enhance the experience of taking and making HDR photos.