NIK’s HDR Efex Pro

I used NIK’s HDR Efex Pro software on a couple of my images from Saturday’s 2010 Toronto Zombie Walk.

HDR software is often overused by some photographers and the image ends up looking really fake.

Of course, when you’re dealing with zombies who cares 🙂 I also discovered that an image like this one which is actually just a little out of focus still works when given the HDR touch.

But really great HDR images don’t look fake. They look better.

NIK’s HDR Efex Pro is not only hugely powerful but absolutely dead-drop simple to use.

It’s easy to load a single image (I couldn’t handhold the camera steady enough or get my subjects to stay still enough to get three bracketed  images in close enough registration to upload into HDR Efex Pro) or multiple images (which is really the correct way to use the software. A tripod is essential for getting the best registration) .

From there, I can use any of the several dozen presets or go manual with the slider controls and the U-Point Technology.

If you haven’t used U-Point Technology (found in NIK software including the amazing NX Capture 2 RAW editor for Nikon files) you have no idea what you’re missing.

It’s way faster than Photoshop and works very differently to create fabulous changes to your images. Best of all you can selectively change almost any aspect of your image without having to go to the trouble of creating a Photoshop layer which can create huge file sizes.

The image of the girl here is done in NIK’s HDR Efex Pro. I just kept the effect down a little and I think it looks way better than the original image.

One of the best things about NIK software is the company offers virtually unlimied support.  The online live webinars and archived demos area really useful. I’ve attended scores of the webinars and they are very professionally run and full of information on how to incorporate NIK’s products into your workflow. They start and end on time and the content is always first class.

For example today I’m watching a HDR webinar being conducted by master photographer John Barclay. This is so cool.

NIK makes my digital darkroom much, much more powerful than anything I could have done back in my wet darkroom days. Sure I miss the smell of the D-76 and the fixer chemicals but now I can sit in a nicely lit office working on my Macbook Pro 🙂

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