Nik Software has put out a killer HDR program, HDR Efex Pro.  It runs as an add-on to Photoshop, Aperture and Lightroom making your workflow seem less from tone mapping to post-processing.  I was impressed from installation to the completion of my first HDR image using the software.

The Interface:

HDR Efex Pro

The Good:

  • Nik Software’s Control Point editing tool, which allows you to segregate one or many areas as control points that you manipulate individually.  Everyday HDR loves this.
  • Opening the Tonemapped image as a Smart Object in PS after HDR editing, this is absolutely sick!
  • Great tonemapping effects can be achieved with a minimal amount of slider bars.
  • The interface kicks ass and they have installed the best default presets for an HDR program to date!  Big plus for lazy processors.
  • Ease of use, unlock many other HDR programs, I opened up one image set and made a great HDR without having too much of a learning curve.

The Bad:

  • No Batch Processing, from what I could gather.

The Bottom Line:

I highly recommend this program!  It is nice to have it incorporated into your Photoshop or Lightroom workflow, however, it is not conducive for batch processing multiple images.  When I go out to shoot these days, I am only shooting for HDR, when I get home I have anywhere from 300-1000 images to process (thats 60-200 final HDR’s).  Using HDR Efex Pro it would take some time to process all of them, but I would be willing to use it to fine tune my favorites.  When push comes to shove, HDR Efex Pro throws down nicely against the competition!

Blake Rudis
f.64 Academy and f.64 Elite are the brainchildren of Blake Rudis. While he is a landscape photographer, he is most passionate about post-processing images in Photoshop and mentoring others.

For Blake, it's all about the art and process synergy. He dives deep into complex topics and makes them easy to understand through his outside-the-box thinking so that you can use these tricks in your workflow today!
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