Easy Single Exposure Edit with Aurora HDR and Lightroom
Aurora HDR and Single Exposures
Most folks use Aurora to tone map/merge multiple exposures. However, Aurora HDR and Lightroom work together brilliantly to quickly and easily make a single exposure POP!
In the photo below I made use of one of Aurora’s many presets on a RAW file to bring out the detail and color and then jumped back into Lightroom for the Upright and crop tools. The whole process took me less than 5 minutes – and the only reason it took that long is because I took my time clicking through several presets to find the one I thought worked best for the photo!
Step 1 – Lightroom
Lightroom is my home base for everything photography, so that is where I will start. Since I wanted to edit the RAW file in Aurora HDR I right-clicked on my image, chose “Export” and “Open Original Images” under Aurora HDR. I chose to open the RAW file rather than a TIFF since I’m only using a single exposure and I want Aurora to have access to as much of the original data as possible.
Step 2 – Aurora HDR
Once the photo loaded in Aurora (super fast with a single exposure) I jumped to the presets panel and clicked around to find one that worked well for the image. I settled on the “Creative Drama” preset in the “Dramatic” category.
Since I planned to go back into Lightroom to use the Upright and Crop tools I removed the Vignette in Aurora before saving the photo and returning to Lightroom.
Step 3 – Lightroom
The first thing I did once I was back in Lightroom was click the “Remove Chromatic Aberration” checkbox in the “Lens Corrections” panel. Next I opened the “Transform” panel and clicked “Auto” to automatically straighten the image. From there I thought it needed a tiny bit more rotation so I opened the crop tool and made a small adjustment to the angle. Finally, I opened the “Effects” panel and added -11 to the Vignette.
The Finished Image
I’m pretty happy with the results! I can often spend hours processing a single photo so finishing this one up in only a few minutes was quite lovely! With Aurora HDR and Lightroom it was quick and easy to make the RAW file reflect the vision I had in my head when I captured the photo.
In case you were wondering, the photo was captured in Cape Charles, VA at the end of January (2017). It was shot handheld with my Canon 6D and 16-35mm lens at 1/640 sec at f 7.1, ISO 100.
If you’d like to give Aurora HDR a try, now is a great time!
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Don’t confuse Aurora HDR with Aurora HDR Pro. Pro only will edit RAW files whereas Aurora HDR will only edit JPGs. Aurora HDR is only available in the OS X App Store, whereas the Pro version is available on the Macphun website. :-)
Hi Daniel, I’ll have to double-check with my contacts at Macphun, but I believe when they made the update to the Aurora HDR 2017 version the pro/non-pro options were eliminated. If you go to the Mac app store the price is the same as visiting the Macphun website. :)
Hi Daniel, I heard back from my contact at Macphun and confirmed that the pro/non-pro monikers for Aurora HDR are no longer used in the latest iteration – Aurora HDR 2017 (which is what I wrote about in the article above).
However, the version for sale in the Mac app store is slightly different in that it doesn’t allow for plugin installation for Lightroom/Photoshop/etc. because of limitations from Apple. However, anyone who purchases Aurora HDR 2017 from the Mac App Store can contact Macphun support and receive the non-app store version free of charge. Cheers!