Announcing my free, comprehensive Aurora HDR Tutorial

I have created a super-detailed and comprehensive tutorial for Aurora HDR by Macphun!  And it's all FREE right here on the blog!  Enjoy my friends!

If you are a regular visitor, it’s probably pretty obvious that I have an updated HDR tutorial now live on the blog, considering the big graphic up there at the top of my page.  It’s sort of hard to miss.  But since it’s new, I wanted to share some thoughts about it, and I put it up top to get people's attention.  It's a detailed resource and my hope is that it helps those who are searching for that sort of thing.

My old HDR tutorial was terrible

I have had an HDR tutorial live here on the blog for the last 5 or 6 years, but it was REALLY outdated and it was based on Photomatix anyways, which I have dropped in favor of Aurora HDR from Macphun.  You can read about that move here.

Additionally, it was not very helpful, and really did not offer a reader ANYTHING of real value that wasn’t already available elsewhere online (and in more detail).  It was pretty basic and offered no interesting tips or insights.  In other words, it was just taking up digital space here on the blog and wasn’t adding value for anyone, even me. 

In fact, it was almost an embarrassment when I compared it to other HDR tutorials out there.  Like I said, it had been there for several years and had zero updates to it.  In short, it was crap, so I removed it.

Enter Aurora HDR

After I made the big switch to Aurora for all of my editing and discovered just how amazing and versatile the product is, I kept thinking in the back of my head that I needed to create a brand new HDR tutorial from the ground up, covering everything I could think of and providing as much detail as possible.  But what I had in mind was going to create a LOT of work for me since I wanted to make it as comprehensive as possible. 

I figured that if it was just going to be a basic tutorial like the previous one, then it was not worth doing.  Why create something if it isn't helpful?  So instead, I decided to created something truly detailed with as much information in it as I could think of.  And of course, I wanted to lay it out in a logical format, which meant that it would need to cover several pages because it would be lengthy.

I spent weeks writing it all up, and it went live here on the blog a couple of weeks ago.  So far it appears to be getting quite a few views, which is great. I want it to be helpful, otherwise it’s just another waste of space.  I intend for this to be a living document that I will add additional content to as I discover new tricks or new features get added to Aurora HDR.  In fact, I just added a new section the other day as part of the Luminosity Masking page, so it's grown already!

As I continue to delve deeper into Aurora, I’m learning and discovering more stuff you can do with it, so I will keep adding those tips into the tutorial.

Here’s how it's laid out, in (hopefully) a logical flow from start to finish:

  • Introduction
  • Defining HDR and how it works
  • When to use HDR, what equipment is needed, and some tips to get started
  • Tips to get the most out of your HDR shooting
  • Creating your base HDR photo + Using Brushes + Introduction to Presets
  • Introduction to Layers and Masking + tips for the best results
  • Creative HDR editing: using textures
  • Creative HDR editing: black and white HDR
  • Using Luminosity Masks
  • Color shifting your HDR photos
  • Noise reduction in Aurora HDR
  • Wrap-up and parting thoughts

Does that look comprehensive enough?  ;-)

I’ve also been creating videos about how I use Aurora for a while now, so I have inserted those videos into the appropriate spots in the tutorial as well.  I find that explaining tips and tricks via video is WAY easier than trying to write them all down.  It’s also much easier for anyone that wants to learn.  You can watch me do whatever it is I am discussing, and play it back if needed.  It’s just much easier to follow along that way.

If you are interested, you can find me on YouTube here.

So that’s the news for today my friends.  Check out the tutorial here and please don’t hesitate to ask questions or provide feedback.  

Thanks for the support and I hope this helps as you explore the wonders of Aurora HDR!

By the way, if you don’t have Aurora HDR yet, you can download a free trial copy right here, and if you decide to buy it you can use the coupon code JIMNIX to save 10% on your order.