Pseudo HDR in Lightroom

Surreal - Old House

You don't have to use Photoshop, Photomatix or any other specialist application to get that HDR (High Dynamic Range), surreal look. It's really not that difficult to achieve good result using Lightroom.

Now not all images are suitable for this type of post processing. But given the right subject and careful execution the results can be surprisingly good.

Architectural and street are two types of photography where you can produce excellent results.


A good starting point for this type of image is to:

  • Increase Recovery to 100
  • Increase Fill Light to 100
  • Increase Blacks up to 100
  • Increase Clarity up to 100
  • Increase Vibrance up to 100
  • Reduce Saturation to around -70

By now you should be just about done now and represents a good starting point for your Lightroom HDR (you can even save your own preset if you want):

  • Adjust your colour temperature
  • Adjust exposure
  • Bring your Black, Saturation and Clarity down a little to your own personal taste (this will vary between images).
  • Noise reduction if required
  • Contrast to taste
  • Export the image and you're done

On this particular image I also brought down the saturation on the green channel and cropped it accordingly.

Surreal - Old House

As you can see the original unedited image is rather dull and not particularly appealing. But after less than 5 minutes of work the resultant image is very different.

View a larger version in our image Library - Abandoned Farm House



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