HDR Photo Tutorial: Using Photomatix Pro in Lightroom

HDR photo processed with Photomatix

Due to the immense popularity of the my last article on HDR photography in Lightroom (still #3 in the popular articles list), I decided it was time for another. Just recently, HDR Soft released their newest version of Photomatix Pro software which includes a plug-in for Lightroom. Well it seemed like the perfect fit for this week’s article. In order to demonstrate the seamless integration into Lightroom, I decided to produce the video you see below. Instead of showing you how the software works (there are tutorials and videos on HDR Soft’s WEB site for that), I opted to show you how it integrates into Lightroom. I was fairly impressed!

What’s more, I wanted to provide you, my readers, with an opportunity to try it out for yourselves. Included in this article is a section where you can download the source images, the preset I used to process the files in Photomatix Pro, and finally the Lightroom preset I developed to “finish the shot”. What more could you want, download Photomatix Pro from HDR Soft (free trial) and you can use the photos you see in the video to try it out!

HDR Source Photos for Video

The source files for this video were taken last year at a rock quarry in the vicinity of Freising. On this particular day I had the perfect conditions for shooting a number of HDR source photos. There was no wind to speak of, the sky was speckled with a bit of cloud cover and the sun – well, I just love it when the sun shines! The photo at the start of this article was also taken on the same day. You can see the almost perfect mirror-like reflections in both shots.

First HDR Source Photo

First photo in the HDR series.

Second HDR Source Photo

Second photo in the HDR series.

Third HDR Source Photo

And the third photo in the series.

Video: Photomatix Pro in Lightroom

This video shows the Photomatix Pro plug-in for Lightroom. It takes you through the steps to properly install the plug-in and then shows just how easy it is to produce HDR photos in Lightroom. What is also explored is the capability of using presets with Photomatix Pro to speed your work flow to quickly get those HDR shots back into Lightroom for final processing. A fun, light-hearted 8 minute video gives you a thorough introduction to creating HDR photos within Lightroom.

The HDR Photos from the Video

Once again, here are the completed shots, processed first with Photomatix Pro and then finished in Lightroom. You can watch them being created “live” in the video! After the video was shot, the only changes I made was to crop the photos just a little tighter than you see in the video. Hey, it’s a photographer’s perogative to make the shot look as good as it can.

Photo as it came out of Photomatix

The photo as it was sent back to Lightroom from Photomatix Pro..

Photo after being processed in Lightroom

And after a bit of post-processing in Lightroom.

Download Photomatix Pro

HDR Soft continues to offer a 30-day free trial of the Photomatix Pro software. You can follow either of the first two links below to get to their site. Or try your luck at winning a copy at the Flickr photo contest – option number three below.

Download the Photos and Presets

Download Icon
Creative Commons License

You don’t think I’d let you go home empty handed do you? I’ve prepared a “zip” file download containing the 3 (three) photos you saw in the video, the Photomatix preset and the Lightroom preset created in the video. These photos are being offered to you under the Creative Commons license. It means you can use these photos for learning purposes but credit to the original photographer (me) must accompany the photo(s) for any other use. These photos are not to be used for commercial purposes or passed off as your own. These are not photos you can do with whatever you please – the copyright remains with me! Read the details of the Creative Commons license that apply to these photos and presets.


Download the HDR Photos & Presets

Collection:  HDR Photos/Presets
Version:  1.0
Updated:  22. February 2009
Size:  11.93 MB
Downloaded:  34,294 times.

Installing the Presets

Manual Install Icon
  • Installing Presets in Lightroom 2 – this video is for those that need a little help in installing Lightroom presets. The video also gives you some tips for preset folder management and backing up your presets.
  • To install the preset in Photomatix Pro, you’ll have to extract the preset from the “zip” archive and manually copy it into the “Presets” folder in the directory you chose to install Photomatix Pro into.
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37 comments to HDR Photo Tutorial: Using Photomatix Pro in Lightroom

  • I had the exact same problem as Kasper and Thorbjorn, but I was able to get the plugin to work properly if I opened photomatix before I ran the plugin. Once I did that, it exported the photos to photomatix and I could make all of the adjustments that Markus described in the tutorial. Thanks for the tutorial Markus, this was very helpful!!

    @patterbt on twitter

  • klaus

    where can I see the video??

  • High Dynamic Range (HDR) Tutorial using 1 JPG

    High Dynamic Range (HDR) Tutorial using 1 JPG states “how to convert simple images into awesome and inspiring one”. Specially beginners will find this tutorial very useful in passion of increasing their HDR skills (HDR using Adobe Photoshop and Photomatix)

    see HDR Tutorial here…

  • Paul Frankllin

    When I use Photomatix in Lightroom it will not roundtrip back to lightroom after I adjust the image. I tried to contact Adobe Lightroom but it is impossible to contact these people. I tried to export them using the export button but it sent them somewhere but did not open photomatix. And when I right click and open in Edit-in Photomatic Pro it goes through all the motions and generates an HDR image but it will not re-import them into Lightroom even though I have checked the button to Open Saved Image with- Adobe Lightroom 2.

  • candyK

    I want to thank you for the clear steps you take in the video. Its generous of you to include braketed pics to work with.It lets me try to follow your steps!
    I’m going to be brave and give it a try!
    Thanks, candyK

  • candyK

    I can’t get the pre-set into photomatix. I wish you had included those steps also.

  • Don MacIntyre

    Dear Markus:

    As a new convert to lightroom and a 70+ guy, I can use all the help I can get. In searching for LR presets and tutorials I found your web site.

    It is always a great pleasure to find people like you who are into service to others. I very much appreciate your information tutorials and your presets.

    Many thanks

    Don MacIntyre

  • Don MacIntyre

    Dear Markus:

    The HDR download contains Picture DSC04153 (the landscape download) it should have had MG6155 (I assume this is the correct missing third Picture number)


    • Hi Don,

      Thanks for the feedback. I’ve just looked at the download zip file and it contains 3 JPG files – MG_6154, MG_6155 and MG_6156. It appears that all the files are there. I’m not sure where you found the other file as it is NOT in the download zip file.

      Cheers, Markus

  • Markus, I just stumbled upon your site and I have to tell you that your guidance, videos, and overall help are just the best that I have seen for learning Photomatix. I had tried to use the LR plugin but did not know what I was doing. Your video cleared it up completely and now I’m in heaven! I’m excited to go out and get some more photos to try it out!
    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience…

  • Tony Jackson

    Many thanks – simples when you know how – thanks for the demo files too, a great help.

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