Aurora Luminar Neo – Should I Upgrade Aurora HDR to Merge HDR Photos

Last Updated on October 23, 2022 by Peter Wood

Aurora HDR is the most popular HDR editor to make stunning HDR photos. Instead of a new version, Skylum released Luminar Neo for superb bracketed merging. Is HDR merging out now? Should you upgrade Aurora HDR to Luminar Neo? What is the best alternative? If you do not have a decision, you can just take a few minutes to read the review. Have a detailed comparison between the HDR editors and the subscription plans. You will have the right choice.

Aurora HDR Review and Alternative

Part 1: Aurora HDR V.S. Luminar Neo

Skylum Aurora HDR is one of the most advanced HDR photo editor, which enables you to combine images captured in different exposures into an HDR image. The program can create a tonal map with RAW images. Skylum Luminar Neo is an AI-based photo editor for portrait retouching, bokeh effect touchup, background removal, noise reduction, and more. Instead of HDR merging, Luminar Neo uses the terms of superb bracketed merging.

What are the Differences between Aurora HDR and Luminar Neo?

Just in one word, Aurora HDR is an HDR photo maker while Luminar Neo is a one-stop photo editor. Luminar Neo includes the bracketed image merging features of Aurora HDR and makes some enhancements, such as the micro-contrast and structure.

When you need to use the Aurora HDR features within Luminar Neo, you can simply merge the bracketed images with auto-editing features. There are more features to polish the HDR photos, including the HDR effects, correct distortion, and applying color adjustments.

Aurora HDR Collection

Do You Need to Upgrade Aurora HDR to Luminar Neo?

When you need some HDR editors for tone mapping or HDR merging, you can simply keep the latest Aurora HDR 2019 and have some adjustments with Adobe Photoshop or other professional photo editors. But if you need to purchase a new license of Aurora HDR for making HDR photos, Luminar Neo should be a nice choice you should consider.

Aurora HDR is still available to Skylum, which offers the Quantum Pro engine and provides advanced HDR editing features. It still enables you to put images with different exposures of the same scene into HDR photos. When you need to subscribe to a license of Aurora HDR, here are the features you should know.

1. Tone-mapping technology for not only single but also bracket images with the Quantum HDR engine.

2. Get the highest quality bracket merging and color enhancement.

3. Auto-detect and batch process brackets.

4. Recognize and eliminate noise on HDR photos while preserving high quality.

5. Work as a standalone HDR photo editor or a plugin for Photoshop, Lightroom, Elements, and Apple Aperture.

6. One click to apply over 80 looks to enhance and stylize RAW images.

7. 11 integrated LUTs packed with LUT mapping filters.

Luminar Neo Photo Editor

The Simple Review of Aurora HDR

Aurora HDR Pros

1. Make HDR images with layers, masks, and blending modes, just like Adobe Photoshop.

2. Preserve all editing history and adjustments with the non-destructive history panel. Or you can save HDR as JPEG or TIFF without it.

3. Offer 20+ editing tools for HDR creation, such as HDR enhancer, lens correction tool, transform, polarizing filter, smart tone, and more.

4. An Aurora HDR license can use for 5 Windows or Mac computers.

Aurora HDR Cons

1. Aurora HDR works better with a high-end gaming computer. Otherwise, you will find that Aurora HDR is buggy while processing RAW images.

2. Beginners need to spend weeks to be familiar with the Aurora HDR interface and advanced filters.

3. Its tech support team does not respond promptly.

4. Many users complain that Aurora HDR can download on some newly bought computers.

Aurora HDR Review

Plans for Aurora HDR and Luminar Neo

Whether you need to purchase Aurora HDR or Luminar Neo, you should learn more about the subscription plan for the HDR editor or AI photo editor.

Skylum ProductAurora HDR 2019Luminar Neo
Price Structure for SubscriptionUS$99.00 with a lifetime license for 5 computers.US$6.58 per month for one license, US$9.08 per month for two licenses, and US$119 for a lifetime license.
Upgrade PriceUpgrade from the previous version with US$59.00.Cannot upgrade from Aurora HDR to Luminar Neo directly.

How to Use Aurora HDR to Merge Bracketed Images

When you need to use Aurora HDR to make stunning HDR photos only, you can use the standalone HDR editing software or plugin. Compared to the other HDR photo editors, it provides more details and advanced auto-align algorithms. Just learn more details about the process.

Step 1: Launch Aurora HDR on your computer after installation. You can click the Open Image button to import the desired photos. Of course, there are some sample photos you can try. There is a Batch Processing feature to make high-dynamic photos within beautiful filters.

Aurora HDR Interface

Step 2: Once you have imported the photos, you can preview the image with the detailed EV parameters. Check the Auto Alignment option in the bottom left of the user interface. It also enables you to have ghost suppression by checking the Ghost Reduction option before clicking the Create HDR button.

Auto Align HDR Aurora

Step 3: It will present the optimal effect with multiple presets once Aurora HDR has merged HDR photos automatically. When you need to explore more HDR effects, you can simply click the Collections link and choose the desired one. It provides hundreds of different stunning effects.

Choose HDR Photo from Preset Aurora

Step 4: Simply move the mouse to the thumbnail to adjust the Amount slide or have detailed management with HDR Basic, Color, HDR Enhance, HDR Denoise, LUT Mapping, Image Radiance, Polarizing Filter, HDR Details Boost, Glow, Tone Curve, Dodge & Burn, and more before saving.

Adjust HDR Photo Aurora

Part 2: Is HDR Merge out Now? Let Time Tell

Is the HDR merge of Aurora HDR out now? Since HDR photo is a combination of a series of bracketed images, the bracketed merging is the same as HDR merging. The new feature of Luminar Neo for superb bracketed merging is only an upgrade of the HDR merging feature.

The definition of HDR is more and more frequently used in videos, TVs, and other devices. Besides the standard HDR photos, there are more HDR filters or auto HDR features. To get the optimal photo effect due to the contrast and light, HDR is always the best choice.

Part 3: 3 Best Aurora HDR Alternatives for HDR Merge

Is there an easy method to get some stunning HDR images? Whether you need to make some standard HDR photos or apply HDR filters like Aurora HDR, WidsMob HDR is always the best HDR editor you should try. It has an auto-align algorithm and ghost suppression, which enables you to get the optimal effect with one click. Different from the Aurora HDR, you can explore multiple effects for all the settings within one manipulation window.

1. Create HDR photos with bracketed images and apply HDR filters for single photos.

2. Enhance the photos via auto HDR alignment, ghost reduction, and tone mapping.

3. Support most RAW file formats, JPEG/JPG, TIFF, and other files from cameras.

4. Provide multiple HDR presets and advanced HDR parameters as Aurora HDR.

5. Tweak basic HDR, smart tone, image radiance, color filter, noise reduction, etc.

Win Download Mac Download

Step 1: Download and install WidsMob HDR, you can launch the program on your computer. Click the Add Photos button to add the desired photos. Of course, you can drag-and-drop the photos to merge them into standard HDR photos or apply HDR filters within the program.

Launch WidsMob HDR

Step 2: Once you have imported the bracketed images, choose the Bracketing mode to make a standard HDR photo. It applies auto HDR alignment and ghost suppression before stitching. Select the Single Photo mode to apply some stunning HDR filters according to your requirements.

Select HDR Mode

Step 3: It will merge the bracketed images into one HDR photo. Just choose the desired HDR filter from the Effect tab to apply it with an instant preview. Click the Before/After icon to check the applied effect in the HDR photo. It can apply the same effect to a single photo as well.

Apply HDR Preset Bracketed Apply HDR Preset Single

Step 4: When you need to adjust HDR effects manually, you can click the Advanced tab and tweak the sliders for color correction, Saturation, Contrast, Vignetting, color filters, HDR denoise, image radiance, and more. After that, you can click the Save As button to save the photos.

HDR Backeted Adjustment Advanced Settings HDR Bracketed Advanced Setting HDR Single Win Download Mac Download

Aurora HDR V.S. Lightroom

Not as Lightroom, Aurora HDR allows users to create HDR with layers, masks, and blending modes. You can process HDR images with both Aurora HDR and Lightroom. But compared with Aurora HDR, Lightroom provides fewer HDR functions. If you subscribe to Lightroom, you can run Aurora HDR as a Lightroom plugin. Even though you cancel the subscription, you can still run Aurora HDR as a standalone HDR image editing software.

Aurora HDR V.S. Photomatix

Photomatix requires less memory space, HDD, and a one-time purchase. The interface of Photomatix is a little more outdated than Aurora HDR. Aurora HDR offers a right-hand toolbar, while Photomatix offers a left-hand toolbar with limited features for HDR combinations and filters. You can get more presets and other HDR editing tools from Aurora HDR.

Win Download Mac Download


Aurora HDR is a high-end HDR photo editor to make some stunning HDR photos. If you want to get the latest HDR editing filters and presets, you can upgrade to Luminar Neo instead. Of course, you can use the review and detailed process to create HDR images with Aurora HDR. Moreover, there are 3 excellent HDR photo editors to get the optimal HDR photos. WidsMob HDR is always the best choice to make standard HDR photos and apply HDR effects.