The newest version of Lightroom, called Lightroom CC (released May 2015), now offers photographers the ability to merge images to HDR. Until now, if you wanted to do HDR tone-mapping, you had to batch TIFF images to an HDR plug-in, like Photomatix or HDR Efex Pro 2, or use Photoshop. Now, you can work directly on high dynamic range images in Lightroom.
For me there are two HUGE advantages of using Lightroom CC for HDR tone-mapping. First and foremost, the file that Lightroom creates is a DNG raw image. It is completely non-destructive, and I can apply lens corrections, sharpening, and even Nikon Picture Controls (camera profiles) directly to this RAW file. In the past, I had to pre-process my RAW images to maximize quality during HDR tone-mapping. Having a RAW HDR file is really great and saves a ton of headaches!
The other reason I’ve enjoyed processing HDR in Lightroom is that the resulting images are very natural and clean, provided that you process them correctly. For landscapes and interior shots, you can get perfectly natural-looking HDR directly in Lightroom. Of course, I can still send my tone-mapped images to HDR Efex Pro 2 or Photomatix if I want to create the stylized looks from those tools.
Video Tutorial: HDR Image Processing in Lightroom CC
I’m pleased to offer a complete video tutorial with a printable PDF companion that details all the steps needed to work with HDR images in Lightroom CC. This tutorial is available as a direct download from Luminescence of Nature Press.
Check out HDR Image Processing with Lightroom CC today and start creating your own tone-mapped images.