Recently, ON1 announced that its plugin suite — ON1 HDR, ON1 Portrait, ON1 Resize and ON1 Effects — would work with Capture One as native plugins. As someone who occasionally does HDR work, I was excited for the chance to try out ON1 HDR and not have to go through a bunch of hoops to combine my bracketed images.

The plugins also work with Lightroom Classic, Photoshop, Affinity Photo, Corel and Photos for macOS.

Great for combining architectural views

I’ve been downtown recently photographing “social zones” for our local downtown development organization, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. A lot of this involves shooting a lot of architecture with tough lighting conditions, so bracketing my exposure is really a great way to go.

When I bracket, I typically shoot 5 brackets, 0.3 or 0.7 EV apart.

Once I send the brackets to ON1 HDR, it merges them and provides me with some initial options. I typically don’t want ghosting in my images, so I turned this to the High value. Outside of that, I don’t adjust any of the default options.

Once I click Save, it brings me into the primary interface. ON1 HDR automatically applies an HDR look to the images, which I’ve found combines the images well, but is rather flat.

I usually play with the Contrast and Midtowns sliders to make the image pop a bit. In this instance I also increased the Whites slider, so the snow would look like it should.

ON1 HDR lets you adjust all the basic development tools you’d find in other photo editors, with everything from exposure to color. It also lets you make lens corrections and level your image — super handy for architectural wide-angle shots.

Get a quick starting point

Not sure where to start with your HDR image? ON1 HDR also has a variety of presets, ranging from Dramatic to Black and White to Fundamentals.

These are pretty basic though, and I wish the individual presets had names instead of just “R1” or “R4.”

In addition to presets, ON1 HDR also has filters, found under the Effects tab in the right sidebar. These are one-click effects that then offer you some additional adjustments once you select one.

Fine-tune your adjustments

You can also make local adjustments, perfect for if you want your tweaks to affect only a portion of the image. I usually don’t find myself using this, but when I do, it comes in super handy to make those fine-tuned changes here and there.

The results

If you’re looking for an easy-to-use HDR editor that integrates with your current editor, ON1 HDR is a solid choice. While Aurora HDR is a bit more intuitive and user-friendly, I find ON1 HDR to be suitable for most people’s needs.

I used it on a variety of photos, and was satisfied with what I was able to achieve. At $99 for the entire plugin suite, you can’t go wrong.