Topaz Adjust Review – Stuck in Customs

Topaz Adjust Review

Topaz Adjust is cool! In short, it is a very simple, elegant, and easy to use product that allows you to achieve HDR-like results from a single image. I use it a lot, both as a product by itself, and as a finishing touch after my normal HDR process.

If you choose to order it from the Topaz Website (immediate download for the impatient!). At checkout, use the coupon code “STUCKINCUSTOMS” to save 10%. I recommend you get the full Photoshop Bundle, because it comes with all their products and it is a tremendous deal.  I use many of their products and even have a Topaz Detail review here on the site as well.  

I’ve heard from a few different photography friends that I should really try this thing, and I am glad I did. It’s really a wonderful product and I could not recommend it any more. I told the guys at Topaz that I was going to give this a positive review, and I only recommend software that I actually use.

Okay, now, on with the review! As you know, my reviews are usually short and sweet and I let the results speak for themselves. I’ll get started with a few photos where I used Topaz Adjust.

A Morning at the Secret Lake

HDR Photo

Chicago from a Chopper

The River Runs Through the Andes

A Sunset on a Texas Farm This photo was shot about two hours outside of Austin in a little town called Brady.  You'd like it.  They have a Sonic there.  This was a 5-exposure HDR shot at f/16.  This kept everything in focus and kept the shutter open long enough to let the clouds drag across the sensor.  In these conditions, you don’t have a lot of time to fool around because the sun is bookin’ it towards the horizon.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Secret Workshop of Jules Verne This is perhaps my favorite find on my most recent trip to Europe.  How can a place so wonderful exist in our world?  It's amazing.I got a recommendation from a close friend that told me I would love this place.  And he was right!  As usual, to see the full-size image, click Original in the menu that appears when you hover over the image in SmugMug.This is the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle and is one of the least-known places in Paris.  Everyone goes for the hot tourist spots, and this museum sounds rather boring, yes?  But as you can see... au contraire!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Secret Crystal LakeThis remote lake was so icy cold.  You would think it's about 33 degrees or something, right?  It felt like absolute zero.  I dropped a little piece of my tripod in here and my hand almost froze off trying to retrieve it.In the distance you can see where the glacier comes into contact with the glassy lake; it gives a sense of the epic scale here.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Boat in Feng HuangIt was a cool and calm afternoon in the ancient and impossible town of Feng Huang. It's an old town, wreathed in many legends.On the old river, you can occasionally see a boat passing here and there. The boatmen come in all shapes and sizes, but many wear the same hat and style. It is absolutely like a warp of time...- Trey RatcliffRead more here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Bustling Beijing Getting this photo was not easy at all!I knew of this area of Beijing called the CBD, or Central Business District.  I notice that they have all these catchy names here, much like the building I took this photo from: "China Merchants Building."  At any rate, I had the driver circle the business district a few times so I could find a good angle.  We found one in this building, but did not know if we could take a photo from the top floor.  Woo went in first.  This might have been a mistake because during the shoot he admitted he had a dreadful fear of heights.  But he said it in such a charming British accent I thought it could have been my subconscious.We went up to the 32nd floor.  No windows no dice.  We then went to the 31st floor, but the confused secretary would not let us through.  Then we tried 30.  The secretary said yes and let us into a boardroom, but the angle was not right and the other offices were busy.  So we went to 29.The secretary on 29 was confused so I instructed Woo to tell her, firmly, "We are with the Government."- Trey RatcliffFind out what happened here at

So, Topaz Adjust is a Photoshop plugin that produces HDR-like results from a single image.

Once you have your image up in photoshop, selecting the plugin will open up a very friendly window that could not be any more simple. The Topaz team has created an amazing simple (and fun!) UI.

Over on the left, there are dozens of presets. Normally, I hate presets and I can never find a single one to meet my needs. However, there is such a nice variety that you can get a cool first adjustment. Something that is very smart about these previews is that they show little thumbnails. Clicking on one of them quickly shows the larger version on the right. VERY quickly. I’m used to having plugin options churn away forever just to get a preview. It’s not like that with Topaz; it’s almost immediate!

After you choose one of the presets from the left, you can then make a bunch of micro-adjustments with the sliders on the bottom. There are so many things you can do… it is simply amazing. The names are strange because the effects are strange. Much like other tools, I recommend you play with them a lot to get familiar with them. I don’t plan on talking about each feature… but for example, the “Boost” slider seems to really pump up the “HDR” effect.

Below, I have put a lot of pics from the tool so you get an idea of what I mean. Also, you can see the “before” shot of the 57 Chevy before I ran it through Topaz Adjust. I used the “Spicify” filter, which is really a bit too extreme, so I dialed down everything a bit. I believe that every image is different, and you should use Topaz differently with each image.

In the last one, you will see that I am using the built-in Noise Reduction. If you also have Topaz DeNoise, you can check that box and it will use those improved algorithms. I think both are good together, and that is why I recommended the full bundle up above with the link. Besides, the bundle comes with Topaz Simplify, which is another plugin that lets you do some painterly things to your photos.

In sum, I think it’s a wonderful product. I’m happy to use it. I’ll continue using it… and I look forward to what is coming next from these guys!


Topaz Adjust - Adjust Exposure, Details, and Color

Topaz Adjust - Adjust Exposure, Details, and Color-1

Topaz Adjust - Adjust Exposure, Details, and Color-2

Topaz Adjust - Adjust Exposure, Details, and Color-3


Any questions about the nature of these reviews? Visit my Ethics Statement. It’s all quite simple!