Best HDR, Photography Software and Tutorial List

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
  • Bundle software (sylisation, sharpening, catalog and print ready apps)
  • Standalone Photo Editing software
  • Photography Tutorials
  • Educational online materials for your new software

Also if I was able to pass on any discount coupons 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!

For a complete list of HDR software, with over +20 personal reviews, head to this page – Best HDR Software Reviews 2018 – Premium to Free

There are various options here, and whichever 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!

  • Skylum’s Aurora HDR 2018 – Instantly became a success and with this latest iteration of the App it’s even better, for both Windows PC and MAC. This program is amazing!!! You guys have got to at least go to the site and download the trial to see for yourself, you won’t regret it. If you like big bright thumbnails, vibrant images, fun photo software then this is for you! The best HDR images are created from a set of bracketed images that you shoot from a tripod, but Aurora also allows you to attempt HDR processing with a single image. 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 Skylum photo.- Enjoy a 15% discount with the Coupon Code LukeZeme
  • 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. Photomatix offers a very competitive approach to creating professional HDR photos. It has a lot of sliders and settings that let you adjust till your heart’s content!- 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.

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!
  • Topaz Studio Topaz Labs brought all their photo software app’s together to create Topaz StudioIt works by allowing you download the shell software, topaz studio, for FREE! Then Topaz offers a bunch of FREE adjustments Here or you can get the PRO adjustments Here. Every type of photo editing adjustment you can think of is available from sharpening, to haze removal, to stylisations and ones that create paintings out of your photos. They offer a trial so you can play around with your photos and see if it’s for you or not. Topaz Labs is a very creative group that can often surprise you, so definitely check them out.
  • NIK collection– NIK collection has a complicated history, but it is still a great package for editing your photos. DxO Labs are currently supporting the software for the latest Adobe updates making sure it is compatible as plugins for your favorite photo editing platform. It has an effects program in it that I still go to this day, called Color Efex PRO 4. There are some filters in there that are just stunning.

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:

  • Skylum Luminar  Luminar is a photo stylisation plugin that allows you produce professional edits at the click of a button. There are over 100 exciting presets to try and the best thing about the software is that it can easily be picked up by beginners but also has a lot of depth for pro users. Luminar can be considered both a plugin and standalone as it can be used in your workflow as both. The only thing it currently lacks from being the ultimate photo editing software package is a catalog, but this is currently being made by Skylum and will be available to all Luminar owners free.
  • Topaz A.I. Clear – This app is amazing! It is a paid plugin for the free photo software editing platform Topaz Studio. What the app does it use smart A.I. technology that knows what to sharpen and areas of your photo to remove noise from. It is a huge time saver and I am very impressed every time I load this up haha. Topaz taught their app how to do this by creating a neural network and throwing millions of images at it to learn. The result is a stunning and easy to use sharpen and clear noise app for us to use.
  • Skylum’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 2018 Video Tutorial (Mac & PC) – This Video tutorial is specifically for using Aurora HDR 2018 on a Mac.Use the code LukeZemePhotography for a 10% discount on this tutorial ans everything in the Stuckincustoms shop! It show’s how to use Aurora HDR 2018 (15% off Aurora HDR with code LukeZemePhotography) in practically every situation! From outdoors to indoors, to architecture ,to moving objects, to single photos, to people photos and everything in between.
    • Trey Ratcliff’s Lightroom Tutorial – 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 amazing! Adobe is an industry standard and tutorials like this help you to get that step up on the competition. The Videos are all in HD and it’s ideal for any skill level. Get an extra discount of 10% off the sale price with the code LukeZemePhotography
    • 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
  • Skylum – 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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[…] 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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