If you haven’t heard yet, Lightroom 2 is great! Ok, ok you might have heard me mention it a few times but learning is about repetition.
So here I was post processing my Greece photos in Lightroom playing around with the main basic adjustment sliders when I thought to myself… hey! this kinda looks like an HDR photo. So I tweaked and tweaked until I got a pretty cool HDR look that looked cool. Then I thought that you guys might like to know how to do it too. So here I am.
Now, before I go on, and before the true HDR people out there burn me to the stake, I just want to say that this is NOT real HDR. It just kinda looks like HDR. Lightroom doesn’t have the ability to create HDR images without Photoshop or certain plugins like Enfuse. You can check out my tutorial on how to create HDR photos in Photoshop or in Lightroom using Enfuse. Ok, now that hat’s out of the way, let’s get to it.
You’ll see that it’s not at all complicated to create this HDR look in Lightroom. All you need to do is play with a few sliders. It’s all done Basic Panel. This is my workflow but you can do it in any order you want. I start off by bringing some of the shadow details out by using the Fill Light slider. Don’t be afraid to crank this one up.
Then I slightly increase the blacks or more contrast.
After that, if off to the Contrast slider and lowering it slightly.
Time now to boost the Exposure so that the image is properly exposed.
After properly exposing the photo, you might get some blown out highlights so the next step is to use the Recovery slider.
Now that we got most of the basic settings done, it’s just a question of tweaking Clarity, Vibrance and Saturation to your liking. And voilà! you’ve just created your pseudo HDR image directly in Lightroom.
To make things easier for you, I’ve created 2 HDR Lightroom presets to download. CLICK HERE to get them.
HDR1 is for high contrast scenes like a bright sky and a dark foreground. HDR2 is more grunge-like similar to what Topaz Adjust does. Both versions have a vignette option as well. Here are some before and after shots using these presets.
Here’s how you import Lightroom 2 presets. Unzip and place presets in a folder on your computer. In Lightroom, right click on any of your current presets and select Import… Find your folder with the presets and select them then click OK. Done!