Friday, 2 July 2010

Creating a Macro HDR Image in Adobe Lightroom from a Single Image

I`m no expert at post processing, and I limit my post processing to contast and brightness changes, but I like to play around with my images and try my hand at new stuff. HDR or High Dynamic Range images have always caught my fancy. Usually one has to shoot 3 exposures of atleast +/-1.0EV to create a HDR image, but my camera has only +/-0.7 EV exposure bracketing, so I`ve had to look for alternative means. This is how I created the following HDR macro image from a single image in Lightroom.




  1. A macro image shot in RAW format


I shot the dragonfly in aperture priority mode at f11 and 1/125th of a second shutter speed (ISO 400)

2.Adobe Lightroom.

3.Enfuse/Enblend and the Lightroom plugin – details for downloading and installation can be    found  here.


Once you have everything installed and ready, open up the RAW mage in the “develop” module in Lightroom. Right click the image and create a virtual copy.


Then using the “Exposure slider” create an underexposed image (using the virtual copy). You can also increase the “Blacks” slider to fill in the lighter area (eg: see mine below).


Similarly, go back to the original image and create another virtual copy. This time use the “Exposure” and the “Fill Light” sliders to create an overexposed image (eg: see mine below).


Now select the original, underexposed and overexposed copies (press Ctrl while clicking). Then go to File-> Plug-in Extras –> Blend exposures using LR/Enfuse


A dialogue will popup, in which you can set your destination folder. Other options include re-importing the finished image into Lightroom . I tick this as I like to do post processing on the generated image. You can also ask it to open the blended file in explorer or any other program. I also tick the boxes to copy all meta data.

image image

All other settings, I leave on default. Just make sure that on the “Configuration” tab, the path points to C:\Program Files \Enblend-Enfuse\bin or wherever you have installed the Enfuse application.

image image

Now Lightroom will go into processing mode and first align the images, before blending them to

image image

create a single HDR image using all three of the above images. This may take a little while, but the resulting image should be perfectly exposed as shown below.


Some people may choose to leave it like that, but I like my HDR images a little more vibrant, so I  made the following changes in Lightroom.


I also cleaned up the sensor dust on the image…and that is how the final image was generated. Shown below are the before and after photos:


Now, try one for yourself!