Best HDR Software 2023: recommended for Windows and Mac

Dynamic range refers to the range of light between shadows and highlights.

High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography can help with this. To make up for this loss of dynamic range on the sensor, you can use a technique called “bracketing,” which involves keeping the camera still while taking two or more photos with different exposure values. The next step is to process these images by putting them into editing software. Most of the time, the software will align, blend, and add other effects to the image to give the user the best HDR option based on the information it has. The best HDR software will also let the user change settings so that the HDR effect can be as subtle or strong as the user wants.

Standalone HDR editors work even if there is other image editing software on the device, and their main job is often to process HDR images. Because of this, they usually have a lot of presets and settings that can be changed. Those that work as plugins run on top of another program, like Photoshop. Even though plugins can have the same level of control over settings as standalone apps, some of them aren’t as good. Below we have mentioned some of the best HDR software.

Best HDR Software

HDR Merge

best HDR software


  • Superior bracket merging
  • Enhance your photo with Landscape tools
  • Go beyond with exclusive tools
  • No brackets? No problem!

The HDR programme HDR Merge is great. Some photographers, like the famous Serge Ramelli, say that it’s the best HDR software in the world. There are a number of options, such as “ghost reduction,” which lets you combine things that are moving, like people walking. If your photos aren’t perfectly lined up, but nothing is moving, the “auto-align” function will fix it.

You can combine up to 10 different exposure photos. You can change the dynamic range of a single exposure if you only have a single picture. Obviously, the result won’t be as good as when multiple overexposed or underexposed images are combined. The interface of HDR Merge is great. It looks good, works well, is easy to use, and is perfect for beginners.


  • Can edit and manage full RAW image files
  • Intuitive and user-friendly interface
  • Great final HDR quality and processing
  • Has a range of HDR presets to choose from


  • You need to buy Skylum Neo to use HDR Merge

Affinity Photo Tone Mapping Persona

best HDR software


  • Clamp to SDR
  • Local Contrast
  • Exposure
  • Black Point
  • Brightness

Affinity Photo is full-featured image editing software that can handle many different tasks. It also has a strong tool for editing High Dynamic Range images. It can be changed in every way in the Tone Mapping Persona, which gives you access to almost every type of slider for changing things like Tone Compression, Local Contrast, Exposure, Saturation, White Balance, Detail Refinement, and more.

On the left side of the Tone Mapping Persona window, there are useful presets with handy previews that show how each preset will change the photo. It might be one of the most flexible HDR tools that is built into a well-known image editor instead of being a separate HDR-only program. This is one of the best HDR software.


  • Helpful presets with thumbnail previews
  • Creative control over tone mapping
  • Multiple before/after view configurations


  • Easy to overdo HDR look

Aurora HDR

best HDR software


  • Wide range of tone and color settings
  • Supports third-party plug-ins
  • Performs non-destructive image editing
  • Creation of multi-layer works
  • Smart photo editing tools
  • High degree of image processing

Aurora HDR is most likely the best HDR software you can buy. It has an easy-to-use interface and its AI-based Quantum HDR Engine makes for great image quality. Plus, it has presets, RAW support, batch processing, and a lot of other advanced features that are powered by AI.

Aurora HDR can be used on its own or as an add-on to Lightroom, Photoshop, or Apple Photos. It is a complete, powerful HDR pro tool that gives photographers creative freedom and results that look natural.


  • Amazing HDR photos
  • Smart AI features
  • Easy to use for beginners and pros
  • Intuitive interface
  • Great additional photo editing features


  • The advanced selection tools are quite limited
  • There’s no healing brush when you use Aurora as a standalone program
  • Waiting for an image to load can take a long time

Photomatix Pro

best HDR software


  • Merge Photos to HDR
  • Adjust the HDR Image to Your Liking
  • Choose a Look to Start
  • Add Finishing Touches
  • Enhance a Single Photo

Photomatix Pro was the first HDR software ever made. It’s been around since 2003, when digital cameras were just starting to catch on and digital sensors didn’t have a very wide range of brightness. So, the people at Photomatix have been making the best HDR software for over 20 years.

Photomatix Pro is the best choice if you want the most advanced tools, a lot of manual control, and a wide range of results that fit any style or aesthetic. It also has automated modes that are easy to use and get good results, for those who want them.


  • Greater exposure/tone control
  • Additional advanced features
  • Automated batch processing
  • Supports various file formats


  • Steep learning curve
  • May result in unrealistic images
  • May introduce noise and artifacts

Lightroom HDR Merge

best HDR software


  • Seamlessly remove unwanted spots in an image
  • Automatically select people, objects, and background in an image
  • Support for new cameras and lens
  • Support for new cameras and lens

Both Lightroom Classic and CC do a good job with best HDR software. They both take a similar approach to HDR processing by giving you a simple “HDR Merge” function with images you have already chosen and then getting to work. Even though the results are usually nice and realistic, hard-core HDR editors will be disappointed that they don’t have much control over the images and can only process them automatically or with limited options.

The only thing you can change is how much deghosting is done. Other things, like alignment and deghosting overlay, are done automatically. Lightroom Classic lets you store images in a “stack,” which combines multiple images into one when you look at them in the software’s “filmstrip” or “library” views. HDR can also be done with Lightroom Mobile, but only with certain mobile phones and only in the HDR Capture Mode.


  • Fast and easy to do in Lightroom
  • Results are great for most images


  • No detailed HDR control
  • Not as accurate as specialized software

What is HDR Software?

High-Dynamic-Range imaging is what HDR stands for. Dynamic range is the range of light between the shadows and the brightest parts of an image. The highlights and shadows of an image with a high dynamic range are both clear. We find HDR images more appealing because they have a wider range of brightness.


Is Lightroom good for HDR?

One of the best things that Adobe has made available is HDR merging. Lightroom turns your HDR file into a raw file. This means that all of the data is saved, and you can use the image just like any other raw image. This is the first piece of software we have seen that can do that.

Do professional photographers use HDR?

It gives photographers more ways to be creative or just helps them make the kind of fine art photos for which they are known. If you look at the work of some of the best photographers in the world, you’ll see that even portrait photographers sometimes use HDR.

Why do my HDR images look bad?

Often, it’s a bad idea to flatten an image by reducing the difference between the original light and dark areas. It makes the image look less natural, harder to understand, and not very appealing. What’s going on? A flat HDR has very little contrast throughout the scene and looks like it was made in a lab.

Amy Hinckley
Amy Hinckley
The Dell Inspiron 15 that her father purchased from QVC sparked the beginning of her interest in technology. At Bollyinside, Amy Hinckley is in charge of content editing. Emma's interests outside of working include going for bike rides, playing video games, and watching football when she's not at her laptop.


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