Create True HDR Photos in Lightroom Using This Simple Plugin


Create True HDR Photos in Lightroom Using This Simple Plugin

While there are amazing tone-mapping software available which specialize in this sort of practice. However, you can create true HDR photos in Lightroom 4 and greater, with the aid of a simple plugin from HDRSoft, without even breaking a sweat. Want the plugin? I’m sure you do – here’s the link to their download page – it’s the one at the bottom. (FYI – It’s $29 to buy a license, but is free to try).

Ultimately the merge to 32-bit plugin by HDRSoft is a pretty neat little process that allows you to select three or more images from your Lightroom catalog and then merge them together to create a 32-bit floating point TIFF file. This file then allows you access to all the great things you love about editing photos in Lightroom, from detailed shadow recovery, to full control over white balance and everything in between.

Because you’re merging multiple photographs together and retaining a full 32-bit image you get much more detail for you to work with inside of Lightroom allowing for a greatly improved overall image. The best part is, because you aren’t truly tone-mapping the photograph, you end up with (at least in my opinion) something that looks more realistic than a photograph that has spent time inside of a true HDR tone-mapping software.

For a full look at the plugin in action – watch the video below – and then let me know what you think in the comments below!

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  1. says

    I use Both Photomatix Pro (currently 5.3) and the plug in and have never had a problem with either since I first purchased them in early 2013. There are also times when I will use HDR efex pro2 when doing a little editing to my work. I guess it all comes down to your personal choice and what you are trying to produce as an artist. No matter what program you install, or how you process your work. there will always be those who will like or not like the results.

    Personally, I use what will give me the results that I find pleasing and, if others don’t like the results, that’s fine. They are entitled to their opinion. I listen and read what is said, take some on board and reject the balance. But in the final analysis, it is my results, the way that I interpreted the final shot that will “hopefully” bring in the dollars. I hope this helps in some small way

  2. steve priebe says

    Of course, I don’t know anything about the internal workings of either program. I would say that LREnfuse offers a few more options for combining the photos. There are sliders to let you modify the importance of exposure, saturation, and contrast to get the affect that you want. I must say, that I haven’t really played with it enough to understand the differences with various settings. It can be used for HDR as well as for focus stacking (I haven’t tried this aspect yet.) There are fewer options for processing images in Merge to HDR, so it’s a little easier to learn. Processing time is about the same for the two programs. I think I like the results from Merge to HDR more, but bringing the image back into LR I can give about the same final result. Hopefully, this answers some of your questions.

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