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Automatically optimise your photos with AutoHDR

10 December 2016, Mike Williams

AutoHDRTop photo editors will often have “auto-fix” tools to optimise colours, lighting, sharpness and more, all with a single click. But they’re often short on configuration options, and some editors may not have any automatic fixes at all.

AutoHDR is a tiny stand-alone replacement for other image enhancers. Drag and drop a photo, click Process, then Save: it could be as simple as that.

Don’t be fooled by the name– there’s no actual HDR technology involved here. The developer explains:

“A more accurate but less well understood description would be pseudo-HDR as this process delivers the ‘HDR look’ achieved through a sophisticated implementation of local tone-mapping but admittedly is still limited by the dynamic range of a single camera shot.”

Despite that, the program delivered good results for us, and you’re able to tweak the effect by adjusting multiple parameters: Detail, Contrast, Colour, Noise, Shadows, Highlights and Sharpen.


Interface options are kept to a minimum, and most of what’s left can be safely ignored

AutoHDR has built-in presets with custom combinations of these values, and you can create and save up to three new presets of your own. This tutorial page explains more, and has “before” and “after” images to show the results.

It’s not all good news. Click Open and the program doesn’t tell you which file formats it supports, so we thought we’d try a Canon RAW. We’d have been happy to see it open, and could have lived with a “not supported” warning, but no– AutoHDR crashed with a .NET error message, instead.

The program doesn’t remember the last folder you opened, another annoyance as we had to keep browsing back to it.

There’s also a watermark included by default, although this can easily be removed (click “More Options”, clear the Watermark boxes).

Do you really need AutoHDR? If you’re happy using some other photo optimisation app, or you need RAW support, probably not. But the program’s default tweaks worked well for us, there are lots of configuration options, and with a 332KB download it won’t take up much space. We say: give it a try.

AutoHDR is available for Windows XP and later.

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