How to Use HDR Photo Merge in Lightroom, Photoshop, and Other Great HDR Software

Last Updated on November 15, 2021 by Peter Wood

It is convenient to take photos with customer digital cameras and smartphones. However, the dynamic range of most customized digital cameras and smartphones’ camera is low. That means you can capture a dark photo with such devices. And the shadows details on LDR (low dynamic range) photos will miss. Of course, you can use some accessories, like reflectors and ND gels, to shoot beautiful pictures. But it is not portable sometimes. Another solution is to create high dynamic range (HDR) images by software. That sounds more feasible. Therefore, this article will introduce how to use HDR merge to make HDR images a profession with ease.

Photo Merge combines two or more photos with different exposures into a stunning HDR. HDR Photo Merge has been implemented inside Adobe Lightroom recently. The article is an instruction on how to use HDR merge inside Lightroom. You can also use other HDR software to do HDR merge to create HDR photos. You can base on the photographing technique to make HDR images.

How to Use HDR Photo Merge

Part 1. What is HDR Photo Merge

HDR Merge is a feature of Lightroom to process photo files or RAW images to produce a DNG file. And the output file of Photo Merge can also be generated as HDR (High Dynamic Range) image or panorama image. Similar to the HDR Pro of Photoshop, HDR photo Merge can create HDR files with Lightroom.

But the current version, HDR Photo Merge of Lightroom is pretty basic without much room for manual control. If you have installed Lightroom, you can use the HDR Merge function built-in to achieve a natural HDR effects, but to create some good HDR photographs, you have to use other programs instead.

Lightroom 6 HDR Merge

There is a lot of other HDR software to merge HDR photos. Photo HDR should be one of them that you can try. It is an affordable choice with the best result.

Features of HDR Merge

Auto Align and Auto Tone

Auto-Align is the first option of HDR Merge. And it is helpful for tiny differences between images taken handhold. Auto Tone can adjust the tone or exposure automatically. You'd better turn on the automatic settings for merging HDR files.


HDR photo is a combination of a series of images with different exposure. When you take a series of images, any movement in the frame should result in ghosting when you merge the HDR file. And the Deghosting feature can avoid a semi-transparent ghost of the moving stuff.


RAW contains more information than JPEG. You'd better use RAW to merge HDR photographs. But whether you start with JPG or RAW originals, the resulting merged HDR image is saved as a DNG RAW file along with its developing settings.

Part 2. How to Use Lightroom HDR Merge

Step 1. The HDR process begins with selecting a series of images with different exposures. After you import the photos, you can merge multiple exposure-bracketed photos into a single HDR image with the HDR Merge feature of Adobe Lightroom. Select all the images with different exposures in the Lightroom. Choose Photo > Photo Merge > HDR or right-click and choose Photo Merge > HDR.

Step 2. And it takes a few seconds to Create HDR Preview. When you finish, you will get a dialog and a progress bar. If you are a newbie, you can use the auto settings to enable the HDR Photo Merge option.

Step 3. After merging the HDR photos, some areas in the HDR image might be unnatural, which you can use the de-ghosting option in HDR Merge to correct these anomalies. If you need to customize the HDR photos, you need to deselect the Auto Align and Auto Tone option.

Step 4. Finally, you can click Merge to create an HDR image with HDR Photo Merge. You can create images and displays them in your catalog, and then you can export the DNG file to the desired file accordingly.

If you use HDR Merge of Lightroom and HDR Pro of Photoshop, you might find the result might be different from each other. And the processing technique used is not the same either.

Lightroom HDR Merge

Part 3. How to Use Photoshop as Ultimate Photo Editor with HDR Merger

Photoshop is a well-known photo editor program. It is not a professional HDR merger that handles a different bracket and ghost suppression of images. If you do not take the photos with digital cameras on a tripod, Photoshop might not merge HDR images for you. Here is the detailed process to make HDR files for you.

Step 1. Launch Photoshop on your Mac computer and load the photos to create an HDR image.

Step 2. Navigate to the top menu. Select File and then Automate. And then choose Merge to HDR.

Step 3. Click on Add Open Files button to add the photos to make HDR image in Merge to HDR.

Step 4. Check Attempt to Automatically Align Source Images and click on OK to confirm it.

Step 5. If the source photos have different exposure values, Photoshop will show the Manually Set EV box. You can customize the value and click on OK to continue.

Step 6. The preview window will show up. Then you can adjust the output by adding and deleting the source photos and changing the white point.

Step 7. After you get the perfect result, click on OK to start the HDR converting process.

Step 8. When the process has done, the HDR image will show in Photoshop. Then you can go to File and Save As to save it as an HDR file, like TIFF or PSD.

Photoshop HDR Merge

Part 4. How to Use WisMob HDR to Do HDR Merge on Windows and Mac

WidsMob HDR is an HDR merge software, which helps you to create HDR images easily. The advanced tone mapping algorithms handle both JPEG files and RAW formats and create stunning HDR photos. Just learn more detail about the HDR maker as below.

1. Photo HDR works with RAW files as well as JPEG files to make HDR pictures. You only need to import photos from the camera or smartphone to the program accordingly.

2. The advanced Tone mapping algorithms will help users to make HDR images seamlessly. This feature also allows users to customize the parameters to create a unique HDR photo.

3. It also provides some editing tools to customize the outputs, such as tone saturation, color management, and ghost suppression.

4. Auto aligning bracketed images of HDR camera with handhold or smartphone into HDR with advanced algorithms.

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How to make a HDR photo with WidsMob HDR

After download and install the latest version of Photo HDR on Mac. And all you have to do is just several clicks to make gorgeous HDR photographs as a profession with ease. And the whole process takes less than a minute.

Step 1. Open the software and click on the Import button to load photos to make HDR images. You’d better use RAW files.

Step 2. After loaded, Photo HDR will blend these photos into an HDR picture.

Step 3. You can add some effects on the HDR image with the editing tools.

Step 4. Export the made HDR image on your computer or share it via Dropbox or email.

Merge HDR Effect Photo in WidsMob HDR

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Part 5. How to Use Photomatrix Pro as HDR Merge Software

When you need to create some stunning HDR photos on your Windows PC, You can try Photomatrix Pro. It is one of the most professional HDR creators. What is more important, the program provides different presets, which enables you to choose the desired effects from the output HDR files. Here is the detailed process to make High Dynamic photos with Photomatrix Pro.

Step 1. Open Photomatrix Pro and click on Generate HDR image on the left menu bar.

Step 2. Select the photos to create an HDR picture and click on OK. It could read DNG photos without converting.

Step 3. After loaded, you can customize settings in the Options window, like Align source images, White Balance, reduce ghosting artifacts, and so on. Click on OK to continue.

Step 4. Navigate to the top ribbon and select File and Save As to save the result as an HDR image.

Step 5. Click on the Tone Mapping button on the left to activate the preview window. The option of Show Original allows you to see the changes.

Step 6. You can change the settings to make an HDR picture. The lower the value of Smoothing, the more surreal the HDR image. The lower the value of Strength, the more real the image.

Step 7. Select a solution from the Presets dropdown list.

Step 8. Click on Process to apply the effects.

Step 9. Finally, click on File and Save AS to save the HDR image.

Photomatix HDR Software


Based on the introduction above, you can do HDR merge easily on your computer. Lightroom and Photoshop the most professional HDR editor with the HDR merge function. And Photomatrix Pro is compatible with Windows, while Mac users could enjoy the HDR image feature of Lightroom or Photoshop. On the other hand, if you are looking for an easy-to-use HDR picture creator, WidsMob HDR may be the best choice. You can get a perfect HDR image with no more than four steps. And it is available on Mac now. If you have any other queries related to HDR merge and the process to design HDR images, you could share more details about the information in the comments.

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