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Currently, I am using Photoshop Elements 9 and there are no HDR features in it (other than the Photomerge Exposure tool which can combine two pics - mini HDR function).

Photoshop CS5 is way too expensive for me and the other two possible choices are Photomatix Pro 4 and HDR Efex Pro. (which still cost close to USD $200)

I would like to ask if there are other free HDR programs available via internet download which I can use? I just want to try out the effects and see what HDR effects can do to my photographs. Can you also give me a brieft explanation of the pros and cons of the programs?

Many thanks!

share|improve this question
Google is your friend: – ElendilTheTall Mar 23 '11 at 12:56
possible duplicate of What tools do you recommend for creating HDR images? – mattdm Mar 23 '11 at 12:58
Welcome Rick. The question I've marked as a duplicate isn't exclusively about $0-cost software, but does mention that as one of the top concerns, and has some answers along those lines. Perhaps we can stir up some more activity. – mattdm Mar 23 '11 at 13:01

Try Luminance HDR. It's free (open source).

This flickr group can also show you some examples of HDR being used.


  • Its Free!
  • Its open source
  • It works across multiple OS's


  • Well, have not used it so cannot update this here. Others can comment and I will update as appropriate
share|improve this answer
Can you move this answer over to ? – mattdm Mar 23 '11 at 16:05
@mattdm - If you mean just add, I have done a copy and paste, if you really mean move, then I don't have the creds I believe? – Wayne Mar 24 '11 at 12:58
Yeah that, and then delete this one if you want, as this question is likely to be closed soon. Or just leave it. Whatever. :) – mattdm Mar 24 '11 at 15:33

You can produce HDR images by manually blending multiple exposures in any competent image editor, such as Gimp. It's more time consuming but usually produces much nicer, more tasteful and visually appealing results. See

share|improve this answer
To add to Matt's post, I've tried manual exposure blending with Paint Shop Pro (even though PSP has an HDR tool) following a Photoshop / Photoshop Elements tutorial I found some time ago (so sorry no link...) which adapted pretty well. I think I saw one on the Gimp site a while ago too. Gimp has some pretty good tutorials which you should be able to adapt readily. – Mike Mar 23 '11 at 22:40
In another question-answer there's example photos of exposure fusion. Might want to take a look at How does exposure fusion work? – Esa Paulasto May 5 '13 at 18:58

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