HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. This is an image editing process that takes your images at different exposures (with the same aperture value). Once captured software combines them to create a final image that displays a lot of the details that normally get lost when you take a single image. This editing process can be daunting for some people but its lots of fun once you know the basics. If you want to learn more about HDR processing, go straight to Master Trey Ratcliff over on Stuckincustoms.com
What I wanted to show you is that there is also a One-Click way to get HDR like results straight out of Lightroom. This is done using Lightroom Presets that work like “Magic” on RAW or DNG images (results aren’t the best with JPEG). Check out the two Free Presets that I have to create HDR images in Lightroom (using Lightroom 5? – get yours here).
For this to work well, you must be shooting in RAW or DNG which will usually have 4-6 stops of information in your RAW file which, means by pushing the Lightroom sliders you can get a lot of detail out of the image. The only challenge is that these sliders only go up to a value of 100 and you have to do some advanced editing in Lightroom to further extract detail out of your RAW file.
So to create your own, you need to keep pushing shadows, highlights, clarity and any other slider you like beyond 100 limit.
Here is how you can create your own HDR presets and save it for future use. Hopefully, this will inspire you to get creative and create your own set of presets. After all, photography is all subjective and is about your own taste and liking.
- Open the RAW/DNG image you want to edit in Lightroom’s Develop module.
- Open the Basic Panel and then bring down the Highlights, open the Shadows. Crank up the Clarity and Vibrance to your liking.
- Now as these sliders don’t go past -100 or +100, to apply a stronger effect, use a Gradient Filter and place it off the canvas (zoom out of the image so you can do it easily).
- Next, adjust again the Highlights, Shadows, Clarity, Dehaze (be gentle with this one) and Contrast to your liking.
- Once done, click on the “+” under the Presets panel to save your own Preset for use later on.
I also have created a more premium HDR preset collection “Ultimate HDR Presets” available for a small fee. You get 30 HDR Presets that I have created plus the two bonus Free presets that are ranked #1 on Google. Here are some image samples created using these presets and a preview video.