AURORA HDR 2017 review



Version 2017
Developer Macphun USA



Macphun a San Diego, USA based software company, is famous for its outstanding photo editing software products. Their latest HDR software tool Aurora HDR Pro has now been upgraded to a new product supporting numerous improvements.
Aurora HDR 2017 is launched September 2016. This review will discover and disclose wether the upgrade is a true improvement to its predecessor .
Aurora 2017 is used by professionals as well as enthousiasts. HDR is a tool to make your pictures stand out from the crowd. Macphun has a great reputation for their outstanding products and aim to listen to their clients and implement their wishes in new product versions.


HDR is short for High Dynamic Range. Pictures are taken in series or one and are processed and combined to one by adjusting the contrast ratios.

An HDR image is commonly made by taking three photos of the same scene, each at different shutter speeds. The result is a bright, medium, and dark photo, based on the amount of light that got through the lens.
A software process then combines all the photos to bring details to the shadows and highlights both. The result of this magic are stunning pictures with vivid colouring and lighting.


Aurora HDR 2017 is the world’s ultimate HDR photo editing software, with added new tools and capabilities. Its a complete and comprehensive tool kit for casual and pro photographers. Its new interface offers more and better features and runs even faster. Perfect for single shots or multiple-exposure brackets, Aurora has the capability to create beautiful HDR pictures from single shots. Aurora HDR 2017 can turn any photographer into an artist.


  • Batch Processing
  • Improved Tone-Mapping engine
  • New Polarizing Filter
  • Enhanced Top & Bottom Adjustment tool
  • More powerful Luminosity Masking
  • Improved user interface
  • Faster & better HDR noise reduction
  • New Signature Pro one-click presets
  • Radial Masking tool
  • Improved Export with image resize & sharpen
  • Faster RAW conversion & DNG support


I myself am not a true Photoshop or Aurora expert unlike Trey Ratcliff who can dig deep enough into the software’s capabilities and find its short comings. I am an average user trying to get the best results with basic knowledge like most users.
To me its important to feel in control of an photo editing software application with so many features that makes you dazzle when scrolling to all settings possible. To me a program feels good if its interface somehow takes me a long the scope of useful settings.
Aurora HDR 2017, certainly has the appeal and speed to deliver its full potential to its user. Just playing around at first to make you feel comfortable with its layout and settings. Users of its pre decessor Aurora HDR Pro are familiar with its interface and features and will be interested in the new and improved additions.


Decide wether you want to import 1 single or 3  images to import and create a HDR image from them. Most pro-photographers will use 3 to 5 different exposed images in order to create the best possible start for further optimising the created HDR image.



Due to the number of build in features of Aurora 2017, you may want to start getting familiar with the new build in features like Luminosity and the Polarizing filter as a simple start. The Polarizing filter lets you edit only the upper or bottom half of the photo if you wish.



Luminance Masking allows you to control the contrast of your image in specific tonal ranges. Luminosity masks are the essentials of tone-based image adjustments. These masks provide a convenient way to select specific tones in an image to be altered as the user requires. They have the ability to overcome shortcomings in the tonal values that were captured by the camera or film and to correct tones that shifted during image manipulation. Beyond simplifying these standard adjustments, luminosity masks also encourage a very individual approach to interpreting light. Luminosity masks make the captured light incredibly flexible and thereby provide the artist photographer unique opportunities.

  • Luminosity Masking

    Automatically make advanced selections within your HDR photo based on the Zone System. Simply click one or more zones and dramatically enhance the part of your image without brushes or complicated selections.




How to use Luminosity Masking in Aurora HDR 2017 vimeo play



What is tone mapping?

Macphun AURORA HDR PRO already had some Tone-mapping feature but version 2017 has a complete new build Tone-Mapping build in their application. I guess this is one of the most used features within this application. Nice to fiddle around, but what does it really do?

It’s the process of converting the tonal values of an image from a high range to a lower one. For instance, an HDR file merged from multiple images with a dynamic range of 100,000:1 will be converted into an image with tonal values ranging from around 1 to 255.

Why do we want to reduce that tonal range so much? Well the reason is simple. Most standard display devices (and printers) can only reproduce a low range of dynamic values (between 100 or 200:1 or lower). The goal of tone mapping is to reproduce the appearance of images having a higher dynamic range to fit/display properly on standard display devices, thus keeping the image looking realistic.

The algorithms that tone mapping use to scale the dynamic range down attempt to preserve the appearance of the original image captured by breaking the information up into two categories: global and local.





If you are satisfied with a preset or a preset selfmade and  wish to create images accordingly to your preset, the Batch Processing is a nice addition to Aurora. It saves time and effort, however I feel that every image is on its own, with its specific details and colors scene waiting for an individual approach towards HDR image creation. Then again there might be circumstances this feature is a true timesaver.
Importing images is easy and pressing ‘continue’ takes you to the next screen with all options and presets. Just choose and set the settings you need and processing your images starts with the press on the button.






AURORA HDR 2017 is a masterpiece for HDR editing. This application really works wonders and turns a novice user into a real artist.
I can only say ” I think I am in love ” again. Fantastic piece of photo-editing, that makes my day. It is the simplicity of the layout and provided features which make you feel you’re in control. The nice Luminosity, Polarizing filter and Tone-Mapping are the features you likely use most. There are no boundaries set by this application, just your skills are and desire to make something nice are more then enough to concur the world of HDR.
If you consider yourself to be a photograph enthousiast, this is the best deal in todays market. AURORA HDR 2017 is your best present.

[yasr_visitor_votes size=”small”]


  • MSRP: $99
  • Current Users of Aurora HDR Pro Upgrade Price: $59
  • Current Users of Aurora HDR Upgrade Price: $79
  • Upgrades and Pricing:

Coupon Code use



$ 99,00

Batch image processing


Polarizing filter


Radial masking tool


Luminosity mask


HDR presets


Plugins, Photoshop, Lightroom


HDR Denoise


Export HDR file formats


Sharpen,resize on export



  • Batch image processing
  • Polarizing filter
  • Luminosity mask
  • HDR presets
  • HDR denoise
  • Glow, Top Bottom lightning
  • Layers & Masking
  • Tone mapping
  • Automatic noise reduction


  • None

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.