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How to Create an HDR Image in Lightroom with Photo Merge HDR

If you installed Adobe Lightroom 6 or Lightroom CC on your computer, you can use it as your HDR software. There is no need to buy additional HDR plugins. You can create an HDR image with Lightroom Photo Merge directly. Moreover, you can even merge hand-held bracketed images in Lightroom as well. Lightroom will auto align and combine images into high dynamic range files. Later, you can create natural or sharp HDR images within Adobe Lightroom. Here is the complete Lightroom HDR tutorial you can follow.

Lightroom HDR


Part 1: How to Create an HDR in Adobe Lightroom

Lightroom requires at least 2 bracketed images. Of course, you can import more images to create HDR images in Lightroom. If you want to get HDR in small file size and good quality, you can save HDR images as the DNG format. As a result, you can save more details and exposures in Lightroom HDR images. Now, let’s see how to use HDR merge in Lightroom Classic CC here.

Step 1: Run Lightroom and import images. Ctrl-click on the bracketed images to select what you want to merge into HDR.

Step 2: Click Photo on the top. Choose Photo Merge from its list. Then select HDR to access the Lightroom HDR plugin.

Photo Merge Lightroom

Step 3: In the HDR Merge Preview window, check the auto-merged HDR photo. You can try to deselect Auto Align and Auto Tone options under HDR Options to see the HDR result. If you find your HDR preview image is semi-transparent, you can click Low, Medium or High under Deghost Amount to fix ghosting artifacts. Then click Merge to merge an HDR image in Lightroom.

HDR Merge Preview Lightroom

Step 4: The Lightroom HDR Merge Preview window will close instantly. You can see a Creating HDR dialog box on the top left corner of Lightroom. In the left panel, choose HDR to preview the HDR image in DNG format. You can choose Show in Finder from the right-click menu to quickly find HDR on your computer.

Find HDR Lightroom

Step 5: To move into the Develop window, tap the D key on your keyboard. Here you can change HDR exposure, contrast, highlight and other local adjustments. After that, you can edit and export HDR with Lightroom, just like a common picture.

Lightroom Develop

Part 2: What to Do If Lightroom HDR Merge Not Working

What if Lightroom Photo Merge to HDR not working? You may find that the HDR and Panorama options are greyed out in the Photo Merge submenu. What to do to fix Photo Merge not working in Lightroom? During this time, you can do as the following paragraphs show.

Step 1: Choose System Info from the Help drop-down list in Lightroom.

Step 2: Copy the destination folder again Settings Folder.

Step 3: Open the copied location in Explorer or Finder, based on the computer OS you use.

Step 4: Create a new file with the name of config.lua.

Step 5: Type Features.disableGlobalTaskManager = true.

Step 6: Restart Lightroom. Now you can use HDR Merge in Lightroom again.

Part 3: How to Make an HDR Image with WidsMob HDR

The basic Lightroom subscription is $9.99 per month. If you want to use Lightroom for one year, you need to spend over $100. It is expensive to do HDR in Lightroom. By the way, the Lightroom HDR feature is not worth for hundreds of dollars per year. If you want to quickly create HDR images with a set of bracketed images on Mac, WidsMob HDR can be your better choice. The permanent license is $19.99. You can create HDRs on 5 computers and enjoy free updates permanently.

1. Enhance and create HDR images with the advanced tone mapping algorithm.

2. Coordinate every pixel aligned perfectly with HDR alignment.

3. Use ghost suppression to reduce the ghost-like effect of cars, clouds and other moving objects.

4. Apply HDR effects and presets to find the best HDR result.

Download for Mac Version

Step 1: Free download, install and launch WidsMob HDR. Click Import to add 3 bracketed images into the HDR software. You can create HDR with JPEG and RAW images captured by most types of DSLR cameras and smartphones. Later, click Next on the lower right corner to move on.

Add Images HDR

Step 2: Move sliders in the right panel. Here you can adjust Tone Length, Tone Saturation, Brightness and Ghost Suppression. Later, click Next to move on. If you are satisfied with the HDR picture, you can click Save to save an HDR image directly. It is supported to save HDR as JPEG, PNG or TIFF files in high quality.

Adjust Effect HDR

Step 3: Customize Color Filter, Color Opacity, Saturation, Contrast, Vignetting and Effect. The HDR preview window will show you all changes instantly. At last, click Share or Save to export an HDR image. You can share HDR images to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and more platforms. Or you can click Start over on the lower left corner to reset all HDR changes in one click.

Make Changes HDR

Download for Mac Version


These are 2 different ways to create HDR photography on your Windows and Mac computer. You can use Adobe Lightroom or WidsMob HDR to merge photos into HDR. No matter you take photos by hand-holding or using a tripod, you can use these 2 HDR software to create and edit HDR photos. Compared with Lightroom, there are not much editing tools in WidsMob HDR. But you can still enhance HDR effects within few clicks. The HDR saving and sharing options are powerful. Whatever, you can use HDR merge in Lightroom and WidsMob HDR with ease.


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Peter Wood
Peter Wood
Peter Wood, a senior editor, focus on photography design and editing software and devices.

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