HDR Photos in Lightroom – Fact or Fiction

HDR photo?

So the question surrounding this week’s photo is – is it an HDR (High Dynamic Range) photo? With the advent of digital photography, HDR photography has always been a favorite topic. I personally love HDR photos when they are done correctly and not just for the WOW effect.

It always amazes me just how much of the tonal range that we see when taking the photo is lost in the inadequate technology of the day. Naturally, everyone wants to be able to recreate the scene that was seen at the time of shooting and this is why HDR photography has gained such a wide popularity.

There are many programs available and many techniques published through out the Internet on doing it just right. There are tricks and techniques to export photos to Photoshop for further HDR processing. There are even Lightroom export plugins to feed popular HDR software. But, is it possible to create the HDR effect solely in Lightroom?

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Lightroom 2 Presets: Overcast – Subtle and Stackable

Water splashing on the rocks.

Did you ever notice that most Lightroom develop presets drastically alter your photo? What is that? Is it so that you can see the change in the tiny preview window? I’ll admit, I’ve produced some of these as well, but this week I’m going to focus on some presets that produce very subtle effects.

In my little neck of the woods, we have an over abundance of overcast days. Rather than complaining about it, I decided to develop a couple of presets that are designed to deal with those dull, dreary days.

What follows are a number of shots that show these two presets in action. They can be stacked one upon the other to give full control over the end result. Since the effects are so subtle, I’d suggest that you click on the smaller image to see a larger view.

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Photo and Lightroom Preset: Nov. 12, 2008

Two Leaves on Branch

Here’s the new photo of the week. Since I thought this could be a great learning opportunity for those just getting into Lightroom 2, I made a small format change to the photo of the week column. Instead of just publishing the develop settings used to create the photo of the week, I’m publishing the original photo AND the preset used in Lightroom 2 to develop that photo. This way you can see for yourself what changes were made to the original photo to achieve the finished photo presented here.

The only requirement is that you have a copy of Lightroom 2. If you don’t own a copy of this magnificent photo management software from Adobe, a link is provided allowing you to obtain a free 30 day evaluation copy.

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New Lightroom 2 Presets: Focus Beauty Builder

Focus Beauty Builder

Something new – a Lightroom preset you can use to build other presets! This is a radical new concept in how we think about develop presets in Lightroom. This system is based on the commonly accepted “Golden Rule of Thirds” that will help you to produce better photographs within Lightroom.

I’ve included a number of sample presets which show you just how powerful and flexible this system is. It is designed for Professionals who want to develop the best photos in the least amount of time. Also, serious amateurs will love the practically unlimited combination of presets you can build – once you understand the system. There’s a wealth of information and samples on the following page.

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Photo of the Week: Nov. 1, 2008

Bicycle Racer

I’m starting something new this month! Every week you’ll see a new photo with detailed Lightroom 2 settings on how the photo was developed. There will be a before and after shot as well as screen captures of Metadata and Keywords, Crop Settings, Develop settings and any special notes which may pertain to the photo. Additionally, there will be a small collection of photos taken during the same shoot – a sort of mini-gallery.

What’s the motivation? Simply this, I spend a lot of time researching and producing new videos for this site – which means I don’t get a chance to write something as often as I’d like. With this new column, I can still offer new Lightroom content and have an excuse to get out and take some photos while I’m working on the next video. Eventually, I’m hoping this column will turn into a weekly Photo Contest where photos from visitors to this site will be featured. If this sounds interesting, write me a comment at the end of this article.

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