And the HDR Program/Plug-in Winner Is . . .

Since the publication earlier this year of my 36th book, HDR Digital Photography Secrets, for which I mostly used Photmatix, and the subsequent release of Nik Software's HDR Efex Pro, I have received tons of emails asking me, "Which HDR program one is best?"

I usually answer, "Well, which image-editing program is better, Lightroom or Photoshop?" I ask the question, tongue in cheek, because I use both Lightroom and Photoshop –because both programs offer distinct advantages. Every pro I know uses both programs.

I continue to say that I use both Photomatix and HDR Efex Pro. Here, too, both programs offer advantages.

Photomatix is very fast, and makes it easier for me to get very smooth skin tones, as illustrated above.

HDR Efex Pro is a bit slower. However, it offers U Point technology, which lets you place control points, for fine-tuning exposure, contrast, color, etc., anywhere in an image. Curves are also included. So, there is less need to bring an image into Photoshop for additional enhancements, as I often do with my Photmatix images.

Both programs can get you basically to the same place, but the journey with HDR Efex Pro will cost you a bit more. Both programs are also a lot of fun and can help you awaken the artist within.

And to get your started, both programs offer many presets, which give you creative ideas on how to enhance your images.

My advice to serious HDR image makers is to get both programs. If you do, the winner is . . . you!

You can get a discount on both programs:
Photomatix - use this code upon checkout: ricksammon.
HDR Efex Pro - use this code upon checkout: RSAMMON. (You can use this code to get a discount on all Nik plug-ins.)

Explore the light,

P.S. Digital enhancements are a popular topic here on the blog. One of the most popular recent posts was on Topaz's Labs new InFocus. Here is another example of this plug-in.

But first, until December 3, you can save big time on InFocus. Click here.

Above: Original image.

Above: Image enhanced with InFocus.

Heck, know it's kinda hard to see the difference in low-res images - but the InFocus image definitely looks sharper.

For a better look, I cropped the images. Keep in mind, however, that the images are still low-res.

Below left – close-up of original. Below right – InFocus applied. Notice how the eye is sharper and the line of the horse's nose is much more defined in the InFocus image.

Here's a link to an earlier post on InFocus.

Explore the light,