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

Last Updated on October 24, 2022 by Peter Wood

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.

Create HDR Images in Lightroom

Part 1: How to Create an HDR in Adobe Lightroom

Lightroom requires at least two bracketed images. Of course, you can import more photos to create HDR images in Lightroom. If you want to get HDR in small file size and good quality, you can save HDR in 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: Launch Lightroom on your computer. In the Library tab, you can click the Import button to upload the photos into the program and select the photos from your computer or camera directly into Lightroom. Check the photos and click the Import button to select the files for HDR merging in Lightroom.

Import Bracketed Image Lightroom

Step 2: Click the Photo menu on the top menu list. Press the Ctrl key and select the series of images before choosing the Photo Merge option from the drop-down list. After that, you can select the HDR option to make them into an HDR photo with Lightroom HDR merge feature.

Choose Photo Merge HDR Lightroom

Step 3: In the HDR Merge Preview window, check the auto-merged HDR photo. You can 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.

Choose Deghost Parameters Lightroom

Step 4: When you click the Merge button, it will merge an HDR image in Lightroom and save it as a DNG file. Lightroom will save the HDR photo into the destination folder and present the files within the program. Right-click the thumbnail to preview the HDR image in DNG format. Click the Photo has Develop adjustment icon in the corner of the image to have some adjustments.

Import HDR for Further Editing Lightroom

Step 5: When you move into the Develop window, tap the D key on your keyboard. Here you can change HDR exposure, contrast, highlight, temp, tint, shadows, and make other adjustments. If you are satisfied with the output file, you can export the merged HDR image with Lightroom.

Edit HDR in Lightroom

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 grey 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: Make sure you have selected at least two images for the Photo Merge feature for Lightroom.

Step 2: Choose the System Info option from the Help drop-down list in Lightroom.

Step 3: Copy the destination folder again with the Settings Folder button.

Step 4: Open the copied location in Explorer or Finder, based on the computer OS you use.

Step 5: Create a new file with the name of config.lua.

Step 6: Type Features.disableGlobalTaskManager = true.

Step 7: Restart Lightroom. Now you can use HDR Merge in Lightroom again.

Part 3: The Lightroom HDR Merge Alternative for HDR Files

Is there an easy Lightroom alternative to merge HDR photos? Besides the Lightroom subscription for US$9.99 per month, it takes a period of time to combine the HDR photos, and it is difficult to manage the effect. WidsMob HDR is the all-in-one HDR merger and editor to merge HDR files with stunning effects and apply special HDR effects even to a single photo. Besides the basic features, it has an advanced tone-mapping algorithm to provide more realistic HDR images than Lightroom. Moreover, you can get the excellent HDR maker for US$19.99 per year or a permanent license at a competitive price.

1. Provide advanced tone-mapping algorithms and HDR filters to make HDR photos.

2. Merge HDR with ghost suppression, auto-align, auto-crop, and other parameters.

3. Choose the built-in HDR effects to make some special HDR photos in one click.

4. Adjust the noise reductions, smart tone, image radiance, vignetting, and more.

Win Download Mac Download

Step 1: Download and install WidsMob HDR, you can launch the program on your computer. Click the Add Photos icon to import the series of bracketed images you want to merge. Of course, you can simply drag and drop them into the program for merging HDR photos.

Launch WidsMob HDR

Step 2: Select the Bracketing mode to merge HDR with Lightroom. When you need to apply some HDR filters to a single photo, you can choose the Single Photo mode to get a similar effect. After that, you can choose the related bracketed images before clicking the Next button.

Choose HDR Mode

Step 3: Instead of adjusting the auto-align and ghost suppression settings, it will generate a high-quality image and provide more details compared to Adobe Lightroom. Go to the Effect tab to select the desired one, such as Super Nature, Classic, B/W, and Old Photos to apply the instant effect.

Apply HDR Effect Single

Step 4: Go to the Advanced tab, you can adjust color enhancement, color correction, and contrast enhancement for the HDR filter. Moreover, there are more features for smart tone and image radiance. Of course, you can enhance the HDR image with the HDR Denoise filter before saving the file.

Adjust Advanced Settings Single HDR

Note: Just as the HDR merge feature of Lightroom, the program also supports most RAW formats, JPEG/JPG, and TIFF files, you can always combine them into HDR images with clicks. Moreover, WidsMob HDR has some special HDR filters specially designed for HDR photos only.

Win Download Mac Download
Win Download Mac Download


Lightroom provides the built-in HDR merge feature to make stunning HDR. It can do the HDR for most RAW files and JPEG/JPG. Once you merged the HDR photos, you can use the ordinary feature to polish the HDR files with Lightroom. When you need to find the best Lightroom alternative, WidsMob HDR is always the best choice to combine the series of different bracketed images with optimal quality. Moreover, you can also take advantage of the specially designed HDR effects and advanced settings according to your requirements.