Is there a software that you give it a bunch of images and you get out a tone-mapped HDR image out of it automatically?

I mean without having to know about white-points and different tone-mapping, etc. Just take images and use the bracket to correct for over and underexposed areas and not make me nauseous when I look at the results.

Panoramas were painful before I tried Autostitch, now it's so easy but when I try HDR, it always gives me a headache. Can't it be just as easy? I mean it seems more complicated to me to do panos than HDR!

  • You may want to try a camera that has an HDR option if you want the most simple method.
    – dpollitt
    Oct 7 '11 at 0:28
  • 1
    Yeah, I did that. It always comes out horribly dull.
    – Zak
    Oct 7 '11 at 1:52
  • Indeed, it happens rarely. On the K-7 and K-5, I've only got a decent one out once. The Nikon D5100 faired better. It has to do with the tone-mapping they use. That said, I agree, there should be a way to have it done right automatically.
    – Itai
    Oct 7 '11 at 2:36

You might also want to consider Enfuse. It uses a different algorithm to most HDR programs, and I have found that it produces very naturalistic images. It avoids the tone mapping process characteristic of HDR, and so have much fewer controls that need to be adjusted.

If you're a user of Lightroom, there's a plugin called LR/Enfuse that make the job even easier.


HDR really is about giving you more of the image to work with. It gives you greater dynamic range, contrast, and color depth. These are all things that allow you to work with the output differently in post processing. With that said, an "auto-hdr" piece of software is almost pointless. You need to manually intervene to do the tone-mapping and make some decisions. If your brain is completely taken out of the equation, you likely will get a resulting image that is very obviously HDR like and screams out HDR! Most people do not want that as a result.

Some great options for HDR software include Photomatix and Adobe Photoshop. If you are looking for a free option Luminance HDR might be what you want.

More tools for HDR here: What tools do you recommend for creating HDR images?

  • 1
    Never got anything out of Photoshop that I liked. Choosing the white-points seems random to me and then it takes to much work to get something that is not even half-decent. Haven't tried the others one but I do not get your point. All I want so to have details where my photo would be over and under-exposed. Basically get the same results AS IF my camera had more dynamic range.
    – Zak
    Oct 7 '11 at 1:54

You may want to look at PTGui.

To quote the website:

PTGui is panoramic stitching software for Windows and Mac OSX. Originally developed as a Graphical User Interface for Panorama Tools (hence the name), PTGui now is a full featured photo stitching application

It also has support for bracketed shots, so you can do a bracketed HDR Panorama with a minimal amount of manual work on the post-processing side.

You can look in the Gallery for some example processed versions.

Here is a HDR example that was done using this software (Original: http://www.silvaphotographics.com/images/pano_gal/001_nightcliff_dusk_big.jpg) and © David Silva

HDR Photo from David Silva

Disclaimer: I do know the photographer and am a licensee of PTGui but in no way affiliated with the software other than that.

  • Sweet image, did you take that?
    – dpollitt
    Oct 7 '11 at 22:38
  • @dpollitt - see my disclaimer and the original link. I am not the photography, so unfortunately, I cannot claim credit just claim jealousy....
    – Wayne
    Oct 7 '11 at 23:27

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