I am passionate about Photography and I love a variety of styles ranging from HDR, long exposure, cityscapes, anything with water in it, landscapes and architecture. So along my photographic journey I have dipped my toes in a lot of digital pools. There are many types of photography editing apps out there and I have filtered out the junk and only shared my personal favourites. Below you will find links to the best of the best HDR software, Bundles, standalones as well as Tutorials and links to those vital educational online materials for your new software. Also if I was able to pass on a discount on that particular app I have shared those wherever I can.

So without further ado, I give you SOFTWARE YOU NEED!

*PS a lot of these have 30 day trials, so it’s worth giving them a try before you buy. 

HDR Software

Let’s start off with my favourite type of photography post-processing, HDR!

There are various options here, and which ever one you go with is a personal choice. But that said you can get trials of these so why not go to their sites, download the trial and have a play!

  • Macphun Aurora HDR PRO- The new kid on the block that has blown other HDR software out of the water. It offers you an end to end photo editing process for your HDR images and it is the complete package when it comes to HDR photo editing. Use the code LukeZeme to score 15% off Aurora HDR PRO. This program is amazing!!! You guys have got to at least go to the site and download the trial, you won’t regret it. Even if you’re not sure if you like HDR photography, you should still give the trial a go to see the incredible advancements that have been made by MACPHUN.
  • Photomatix PRO – This has been the most common used HDR software out there for the past 5 years and updated versions are released free to every user for 2 years after your purchase, which is fantastic. I have also gotten everyone a 15% discount on all Photomatix software with the coupon code LukeZemePhotography. Photomatix also has a trial so it’s worth trying it to see if you like program first.
  • NIK HDR EFEX PRO 2 This is a pocket rocket in terms of HDR software. It is free! Yes the magic words FREE, but be warned that google announced in 2016 that they would no longer be supporting the software. It is a fairly simple program that offers a small amount of options when compared to Aurora and Photomatix, but if you can’t afford a HDR program right now you can still get your feet wet with HDR Efex. The fact that google isn’t supporting the program means that eventually this won’t be compatible with the latest versions of Photoshop and other photography programs.

The Best Complete Photo Software Bundles/Packages

These additional programs can used to make almost any alteration to an image you can think of including the use of Filters, lens effects, Resizing software, portrait adjustment, noise reduction and many many more effects. You can purchase software as separate standalone programs or in bundle packages.

The BEST 4 Photography Bundles are:

  • On1 Photo RAW- This is the Bundle I use a lot as I really like the On1 workflow. What I love about On1 Photo RAW is that it keeps expanding and bringing in more features, that all come free to owners of the package. You can do everything in it all in the one place without having to leave the app, they also offer a FREE Trial! 
  • Macphun’s Luminar – Luminar is a MAC only app for photography stylisation. It is like Adobe Lightroom on steroids! I have done a video on how amazing Luminar is which you can check out here. Luminar Video, I believe it to be the best Photo App for MAC 🙂 You can give Luminar a trial as well, so thats a big plus! AND if you decide to buy use my coupon code LukeZeme to get 15% OFF any Macphun photo apps 😉  
  • Topaz’s Complete Collection- Topaz’s complete collection of software is mind boggling. They have a great photo community and Topaz staff are nothing but loyal to their base of photographers. The bundle can be a big commitment so to make the decision easier you can take 15% off with the coupon code LukeZemePhotography. If you don’t need the entire collection but are just after a cool filter program then the one you are looking for is called Topaz Adjust 5I love it.
  • NIK collection– NIK sold it’s package of software to google, but it’s still know as the NIK collection, and it is FREE to download. Just to clarify that google stopped support for this pack so in the very near future it will most likely not be compatible with current versions of Photoshop, so get in now and use it why you can!

Individual Plug-in & Standalone Apps

Whilst the bundles are used from start to finish in your post-processing workflow. These Filter programs are the individual apps that go into the complete collections/suites from On1, Topaz and Macphun.

The best standalone apps are:

  • Topaz Clarity and Adjust 5 – These are the 2 best photo apps for professional photo editing and stylisation from Topaz. For a 15% discount you can use the coupon code LukeZemePhotography on checkout 😉 They also offer trials
  • ON1 Effects 10 FREE plugin for Photoshop It’s incredible that this is free considering how advanced this filter program is. This is the stylisation part of the On1 Photo RAW package. Definitely worth giving it a go guys, you will love it! and yes it’s FREE!
  • Color Efex Pro 4 Many photographers use Color Efex Pro to stylise their images. It has one of the best tonal contrast filters you will ever find AND it is FREE!
  • Detail 3 and B & W Effects Here are a couple more suggestions from the topaz collection which are personal favourites of mine. You can get some stunning and professional results from them both. Use the code LukeZemePhotography for a cool 15% discount.
  • Macphun’s Noiseless- I can’t give enough praise to Noiseless, it does a top notch job on any noisey photo I throw at it. Check the link to give it a try or use the code LukeZeme to get a 15% discount! This one is a MAC only app btw. 


There are a lot of tutorials out there online and for sale but these are the best ones I can share with you all:

    • Free HDR Tutorial to everyone who signs up to my newsletter. Each tutorial is over 20 pages and involves me going through the complete process of making an HDR image with Aurora HDR on MAC and Photomatix PRO on PC. You also get a FREE Manual Photography Cheat sheet PDF thrown in, as they’re very useful to all photographers. Sign up to my NEWSLETTER HERE
    • NEW! Aurora HDR 2017 Video Tutorial (Mac Only) – This Video tutorial is specifically for using Aurora HDR 2017 on a Mac. It show’s how to use Aurora HDR (15% off Aurora HDR with code LukeZemePhotography)in practically every situation! From outdoors to indoors to mixes to architecture to moving objects to single photos to people photos and everything in between. Use the code LukeZemePhotography for a 10% discount on all the stuff in stuckincustoms!
    • Trey Ratcliff’s Lightroom Tutorial for Beginners and Beyond – Lightroom is awesome and fun! It’s hard for me to think of a program that I enjoy using more than Lightroom! Not only is it great for organizing your photos, but you can do incredible things to make your photos look amaze-maze! See how to organize and edit photos in Lightroom, from Alpha to Omega. The Videos are all in HD and it’s ideal for any skill level. Get an extra 10% off the sale price with the code LukeZeme
    • Jimmy Mcintyres MASTERCLASS PACK  These tutorials offer exceptional insight into how create stunning Photographs. The results really speak for themselves and there is something to learn for everyone from the most advanced photographer to the very beginner. Jimmy’s understanding of Luminosity masks and the in’s and out’s of how to use Adobe Photoshop are 2nd to none. I still go back to these tutorials every now and again because they are so in depth and inspiring. Click here to view more details. I offer the Masterclass Pack 5 stars!!! 

Education and teaching aids links

So you’ve bought your software but how do you use it? Well I’ve got you covered, each of the major companies below offer FREE training online 😉

  • On1 has many different tutorials and training resources under the LEARN tab
  • Macphun- offer training on all of their apps online!
  • Topaz – also provides its users with a variety of learning platforms under the RESOURCES tab
  • Photomatix Has heaps of training material at this link

You now have everything you need to get you started and tutorials and webinars you can jump on and do in your own time. Looking forward to seeing what you create soon.


Love it if you could share this list for me, or just hit the Like button

Cheers, Luke 🙂

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2 Comments on "Best HDR, Photography Software and Tutorial List"

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[…] I used Photomatix PRO, Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom from the Adobe creative cloud, OnOne Photosuite 7 & Perfect Effects 4, and from NIK I used Color Efex Pro 4. As this was a HDR workflow the software has been previously listed along with explanations and discounts where I could get them for you at this link…  LINK TO HDR SOFTWARE […]


[…] A Comprehensive list of HDR software & plug-ins […]

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