Aurora HDR 2019 Review

Skylum returns with a new version of its famous Aurora HDR, this time the Aurora HDR 2019, which includes old and new options compared to its predecessor. This program is a mixture between an HDR software and a filter software, because after combining the images you can apply some filters and presets. Before you give this application a chance to increase your editing possibilities check this Aurora HDR 2019 review.

The old and the new features

The interface has barely changed from the previous version, which is good because it’s still as intuitive as ever.

aurora hdr 2019 review

The best results are obtained with brackets of 3 or 5 images, with an exposure difference between them of 1 or 2 steps. Eye-catching results can be achieved quickly once we know the sliders and their effects.

This is the list of novelties specified by the company Skylum:

  • New Quantum HDR engine.
  • Enhanced intelligent HDR filter for realistic, artifact-free structure.
  • Improved HDR detail enhancement effect (photo is displayed in high resolution while adjusting the filter)
  • Improved adjustable gradient filter: added sliders for highlights and shadows.
  • Support for LUTs (has 11 built-in and you can add more)
  • Photoshop plug-in support.

Also, they’ve renamed the presets. Now they’re called “Aurora HDR Styles.”

Aspects to considerate

  • Preview Speed: As you make various adjustments to the image, touching a slider does not quickly apply the change in the preview but has a delay during which the image is blurred. This means that you cannot evaluate the effect while moving the slider, but you have to show and hide the filter in question several times.
  • Limitations to create masks for each filter: you can’t apply a mask to each filter, because each mask is applied to the whole layer. If you want mask in each filter, you have to use separate layers.
  • Add empty layers: this is related to the previous point. Every time you create a layer on Aurora HDR all available filters are loaded even if you only want to adjust one. Maybe it makes sense in the base layer because that’s where the general adjustments are made and you have everything at hand. On the other side, in the following layers it would be better to be able to add only the filter you need. This way, I think it would avoid overloading resources when using the application.
  • Clone buffer: To be able to use Aurora HDR without resorting to other applications, it would be interesting to have a clone buffer or any other tool that allows you to remove stains.

aurora hdr 2019 review


We are witnessing an evolution of technology, not only mirrorless cameras but also software. And in what a way! After trying this new Aurora HDR 2019 I wondered if the day will come when having to spend time editing photos in front of the computer will be out of date.

I’m glad to see that Skylum’s work is aimed at achieving natural finishes by reducing the clearest evidence of having used HDR software such as halos and excessive focus/contrast. It’s not perfect yet, but at least their plans go in that direction.

To put myself in the shoes of different types of users I can say this:

The less demanding will get very good and much better edited images than in the previous version with just a couple of clicks.

Those who want to have absolute control over their photos may never be interested in such software. If you are looking for an application that doesn’t decide for you, even if it involves manually editing it for hours, this software isn’t for you.

Anyhow, giving it a try won’t hurt you at all. Download the trial version, use it with your photos and check if it meets your needs and if it works stably on your computer.