HDR (high dynamic range) is a staple when it comes to real estate photography. It is an old photography technique that requires you to capture a wide range of light stops from lightest to darkest and then combine all those images. This creates a wider dynamic range than a photo with a single exposure.
Although cameras and smartphones already carry the HDR feature, this might not be effective for professional real estate photography. The usual issue with this kind of system is that you have no control over the output. The best solution is to use your DSLR and shoot with RAW while using the auto exposure bracketing. Once you have the images with the different exposures, you can edit them to create the desired result.
HDR Software Options
There are different HDR software options that you can use in order to create the perfect image that you need for real estate. Different real estate photographers have different preferences.
Here are the top six HDR software programs that photographers use:
1. Photomatix Pro. This software is the top HDR programs for many photographers. Photomatix is developed by HDRSoft and is one of the oldest around.The great thing about the Photomatix is there are four tone mapping methods that can be used to make creative looks. Photomatix is a great all around HDR software and that is not just limited to real estate photography use. When you used right, you get the most amazing photos.
2. Aurora HDR. This is another HDR software that many professional photographers swear by. Developed by StuckinCustoms and MacPhun, this only works for Mac users. This is one of the easiest HDR software platforms out in the market today. It has a ton of different features that can be used to create different looks for your images. It’s close to being an all-in-one software that it has its own spot healing brush. Its HDR Tone Mapping feature is powerful and one of the best among all the software options.
3. Nik’s HDR Efex Pro. The company has always been at the forefront of producing presets and filters for Photoshop. With the HDR Efex Pro, the software is created to act like a plugin to your photo editing software. This software is great for people who don’t want to move back and forth across different software. The HDR Efex Pro creates a different workflow than that of the usual HDR software.
4. Adobe HDR Photo Merge in Lightroom. If you are using Photoshop or Lightroom, you need not look further. Lightroom has its own HDR Photo Merge that lets you combine images to create an HDR photo. This extra feature has different blending options, like Auto Tone and Auto Align. Auto Tone is used for merging photos while Auto Align is used for aligning your images.
5. Easy HDR. This software was released in 2006 and has gone through different versions through the years. This software is also user-friendly and one of the best in the market. It’s quick and can be easily installed. Unfortunately, this software doesn’t handle RAW files quite well. Older CR2 files might need to be exported to Lightroom first in order to create better images. To get the best results with this program, try converting your images to 16-bit TIF files.
6. HDR Projects 4. This is one of the newer software options in the market and it’s packed with some interesting features. It’s available on both MAC and Windows and it’s easy to use. HDR Projects 4 comes with a Lightroom plugin that makes the workflow easier. Unfortunately, its presets aren’t that outstanding. But it has quite a lot of controls and options. This software can be promising when used the right way.