Combining DxO Photolab and Aurora HDR

Complex post processing

As much as I enjoy photography, I am also one of those people that find it hard to get into using layers, complex masking and complex editing. As rewarding as this can be and the results amazing, I still find the learning curve to be steep and time consuming. Perhaps I should persevere….

Recently I have been playing with combining DxO Photolab and Aurora HDR and enjoying the results.

Combining DxO Photolab and Aurora HDR

Both of these programmes have there strengths and provide me with a very simple way of enhancing my images with a few clicks. DxO Photolab’s strength is its ability to auto correct and enhance images based on the camera and lens in use. Aurora HDR’s strength is in tone mapping your images to provide a rich and colourful image with great tones.

My workflow for for this and examples.

DxO Photlab

I nearly always shoot in RAW and then do my post processing in DxO Photlab taking advantage of DxO Photolabs presets to correct my images and RAW files. When working with images in DxO, DxO applies a default preset for your camera and lens. My three go to presets are DxO Default, Portraits and Landscapes.

Aurora HDR

Aurora HDR allows you to merge a set of bracketed exposures and takes advantage of AI to enhance the final image. However and this is important, you can also process a single image via Aurora HDR. And that is what I do.

Principle of best in breed

Post processing software is advancing in leaps and bounds and the companies that are developing them can do one of two things, focus on being the best at a certain aspect of post processing, or try to be a good all rounder. Best in breed implies that a particular product is best at what it does.

DxO Photlab is definitely a best in breed when it comes to correcting and post processing RAW files.

Aurora HDR is best in breed when it comes to merging bracketed images and tone mapping.

Combing these two programmes into your workflow provides a fast and powerful way to enhance your images.

How I do it

  1. DxO photlab
    1. Appy a preset that matches your subject, DxO default, Landscape or Portrait for example.
    2. Export your image to Aurora HDR as a TIFF file.
  2. Aurora HDR
    1. Aurora HDR will open up and recognise that you are sending a single file for tone mapping. It will work its magic and provide you with an enhanced tone mapped image.
    2. Tweak the resulting image to your liking or apply an Aurora HDR preset.
    3. Save as a JPEG or TIFF file

This whole process takes only a minute or two to do and best of all it takes advantage of the strength of both programmes and you are not having to use layers or make complex adjustments.

Here are a couple of examples.

DxO Standard preset applied
Tone mapped in Aurora HDR
DxO Natural preset applied
Tone mapped in Aurora HDR

The second example with the swan is worth studying in more detail, just look at the texture and detail that has been brought out through tone mapping.

Cropped swan

I will let you judge the final images for yourselves.

Try Aurora HDR 2019

Try DxO Photolab


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