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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!
Oh, while you’re here, I did want to mention that I’ve just started a fun new series here on Phogropathy called “Community Edits”. Basically it’s a fun weekly series where I host a photograph from the community for you to download and edit and share that edit with us. It’s been a lot of fun so far to see how each person approaches the same photograph differently and we’d love to have you join the group! Find out all the info here.