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The ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will face the challenge of efficiently selecting interesting candidate events in pp collisions at 14 TeV center of mass energy, while rejecting the enormous number of background events, stemming from an interaction rate of up to 109 Hz. The First Level trigger will reduce this rate to around O(100 kHz). Subsequently, the High Level Trigger (HLT), which is comprised of the Second Level trigger and the Event Filter, will need to further reduce this rate by a factor of O(103). The HLT selection is software based and will be implemented on commercial CPUs, using a common framework built on the standard ATLAS object oriented software architecture. In this paper an overview of the current implementation of the selection for electrons and photons in the HLT is given. The performance of this implementation has been evaluated using Monte Carlo simulations in terms of the efficiency for the signal channels, rate expected for the selection, data access and manipulation times, and algorithm execution times. Besides the efficiency and rate estimates, some physics examples will be discussed, showing that the triggers are well adapted for the physics programme envisaged at LHC. The electron and photon trigger software is also being exercised at the ATLAS 2004 Combined Test Beam, where components from all ATLAS subdetectors are taking data together along the the H8 SPS extraction line at CERN; from these tests a validation of the selection architecture chosen in a real on-line environment is expected.