New Version Processes Flawless HDR Photos

Review by Dave Williams

HDR (high dynamic range) photography is always a hot topic. It had its teenage years, when we saw some strange things happening, but now it’s matured, and it’s a very effective tool. HDR is most popular among landscape and architecture photographers because it delivers a punch to the dynamic range, contrast, and saturation, which tend to benefit those genres. The ON1 HDR 2023.5 software is specifically designed to merge between 2–13 photos to HDR, using a process known as tone mapping. This process maps sets of colors from bracketed photos, to create an output image with a high dynamic range; and it’s different from exposure fusion, which is considered less effective. It’s also possible to apply HDR looks to a single image using this 2023 version. 

ON1 HDR 2023.5 is easy to use and features a huge range of presets. All you need to do is open a set of bracketed photos, decide whether to align and de-ghost them, and hit Merge. So far this sounds exactly like the options we have in Adobe Lightroom and Camera Raw, but here’s the key difference: the output from ON1 HDR 2023.5 includes layers, so you can make specific adjustments to fine-tune your image. And just like Adobe software, you also have basic tone and color adjustments available with this software. 

When you merge photos, you have another set of options pertaining to the look of the output image: You can choose Natural, Surreal, Glow, Subtle, and Exaggerated Edges n Tone.

The software works great as a standalone, or as a plug-in for Adobe Lightroom Classic. The ON1 HDR 2023.5 provides more options, because it uses AI technology, such as applying AI looks to specific areas of photos with Super Select AI and Mask AI. There are even some AI Adaptive presets from which to choose. 

Everything about ON1 HDR 2023.5 is fast and effective, offering great control and the ability to make changes to edits repeatedly. This is an incredibly powerful piece of software that has changed the game in HDR editing!