Macphun Aurora HDR Wins Apple Editors’ Choice, Best of Mac App Store, Now 50% Off

by Karin Gottschalk1 Comment

Macphun’s imaging editing products comprising their recently consolidated Creative Kit 2016 have already proven enormously popular and award-winning for that matter. So it was only a matter of time, after Macphun’s recent launch of Aurora HDR and Aurora HDR Pro, that they, too, would attract the accolades and the buyers.

Aurora, in its App Store version Aurora HDR, and in its higher-specced professional edition Aurora HDR Pro, was born with a maturity beyond its tender years thanks to the experience and insight the Macphun team gained from developing Intensify, Tonality, Snapheal, FX Photo Studio, Focus and Noiseless.

Partial parenting by the likes of Trey Ratcliff, one of the most followed photographers on the Interwebs and one of the most popular HDR photographers out there, certainly helped ensure Aurora in both its versions would be the best and most feature complete high dynamic range imaging editing applications of them all.

On hearing about Aurora HDR during the development phase, I was enthused. I had tried every single HDR application and plug-in I could lay my hands on, a little while ago, when making a preview movie from photographs shot under less than ideal lighting conditions.

Applying a bit of Ken Burns Effect magic to key images in Final Cut Pro X was proving less than satisfactory given the limitations of straight single-shot photographs even with today’s amazing raw processing software.

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I produced this 5-bracket HDR image with Aurora HDR Pro from raw files shot in similar light and weather conditions as the photograph above. Again, all I did was choose a preset, apply a little darkening at the top of the image and voilà. I was blown away by how well Aurora HDR Pro handles multiple images containing moving subjects, seemingly applying some form of artificial intelligence to choose the perfect stance in the four people who were walking while I fired off all five frames. Panasonic Lumix GX8 with Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 lens.

I cursed myself for not having shot HDR brackets but then, let’s face it, the latest generation of mirrorless marvels makes high-speed 3, 5 or 7 bracket HDR bursts a breeze like it never was before.

And I have a confidence I never previously had either. With Aurora HDR and Aurora HDR Pro, and my trusty Panasonic Lumix GH4 and GX8, I can create great photographs in lighting conditions that, even with the best non-HDR raw processing software, would normally result in little more than just a disinterested blah.

HDR has always been capable of producing images that transcended mundane reality but, until Aurora HDR appeared, previous software demanded too much work to avoid the old HDR clichés. With Aurora HDR and Aurora HDR Pro, a photograph like the man under the tree can clearly reveal everything from deep shade to bright sun and give it a richness and clarity I have rarely matched with regular raw conversion.

Or, as the image of the women with background walkers hints, I can push a potentially boring image towards the transcendent or way beyond it if I choose.

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One of my first five-image HDR bracket sets after obtaining Aurora HDR helped me produce this contemplative image with nothing more than the application of a preset without any further refinements. Made from camera JPEG files shot on Panasonic Lumix GX8 with Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 lens.

Another less-known trait of both Aurora products is that they make amazing single image editors too. Earlier today I wanted a clear image of a small, local historic monument to show a colleague. The rather dark monument was in deep shade against a messy background with colors from burnt-out white to darkest glossy black.

I opened the raw file in Aurora HDR Pro, applied a preset, tweaked the high values a little, and now I have an image that is a lasting record of a monument that remains under threat by developers.

Aurora HDR Pro Deep Dive with Trey Ratcliff

Aurora HDR By MacPhun LLC

Via iTunes:

2015 Best of Mac App Store. 50% OFF for the holidays. Don't miss out!

Aurora HDR™ is the world’s powerful HDR photo software, co-developed with Trey Ratcliff – the world's most famous HDR photographer whose photos have been viewed more than 115 Billion times.

You get tools, power, flexibility and creative freedom to make amazing HDR photos in minutes, without Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom or any other software.

Aurora HDR™ combines Macphun's proprietary image tone-mapping, a fun user interface and Trey’s excellent photographic vision. You get fast and powerful results for creating HDR photos with styles from completely realistic to extreme.

Aurora HDR™ features an easy-to-use, versatile workflow that supports every style of HDR. It simplifies the creation of beautiful natural photos with with auto alignment and automatic deghosting technology, over 60 powerful editing tools and scores of 1-click presets developed by Trey Ratcliff and the Macphun team.

You want amazing results, quickly? Aurora HDR™ presets for various photography styles will give it to you. Even create your own presets and share them with other artists.

Take advantage of custom textures, layers, brushes, image radiance, structure and detail controls, vignette and vivid colors and much more. Aurora HDR™ includes best-in-class toning, split-toning, color filter and even graduated neutral density tools to help you achieve fantastic results, easily!

Aurora HDR™ works great with a single image, or with multiple photos shot at different exposure values. Open JPG, TIFF, PNG and more.

RAW files only supported in the Pro version available at

There is no other software like Aurora HDR™.
Learn more about tools and features, plus watch free tutorials by Trey Ratcliff and other Pro photographers at:

Get Macphun Aurora HD on iTunes.

Aurora HDR: Delivering on Our Promise

Via Macphun blog:

If you’re a Macphun fan, or follow renowned HDR photographer Trey Ratcliff online, we’re pretty sure you’ve heard of Aurora HDR by now. Just launched in mid-November, it’s already turning heads in the world of “high dynamic range” photography and has come out of the starting blocks faster than any previous Macphun product!

Now, the world’s most advanced HDR software just got better. We promised to make Aurora HDR the new standard for HDR. Today, thanks to suggestions from the tens of thousands of people who are already using it, we released the version 1.1.0 update that you’ll want to download immediately. Just launch the app, then choose Aurora HDR menu > Check for Updates…”

Aurora HDR JPG

The new version is chock full of enhancements suggested by Trey and many users. Here are the highlights!


  • Realistic HDR preset category for more natural one-click results.
  • Ability to add Custom Preset Packs
  • Compare your HDR image to the middle image of a bracketed set of exposures.
  • Adjust opacity for the original source layer.
  • Option to use the Original Image as the source for a new layer.
  • “Super Smooth” control added to HDR Denoise panel to provide extreme noise reduction and smoothing of any artifacts.
  • Shortcut: Option+Click on the Details Mask slider to see mask.
  • Shortcut: When brushing selective enhancements into a layer, press and hold the “M” key to view the effects with a 100% fill mask.
  • Sharing option for the popular 500px website.


  • Deghosting now produces better results automatically OR you can select one of your exposures as a “reference image” for ghost reduction.
  • Lightroom support adds the ability to export RAW files to Aurora that include their Lightroom adjustments.
  • Aperture support for merging multiple images.
  • Support for new RAW file formats from additional cameras.
  • Better Image Zoom supports zooming where you double-click and not only at the image center.
  • A variety of bug fixes, including better performance for image loading and interface response, color profile improvements and more.

Learn more at Macphun blog “Delivering on Our Promise”

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


  1. Thanks for write-up Karin! It was a real pleasure to read your review. 

    Guys, in case you have any questions or concerns – you are more than welcome to contact us via .

    Alina from Macphun

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