How To: Create an HDR Bracket Using One Image in Lightroom

Bracket

This shot was taken using a NIKON D5000 at ISO 400, f/4, for 1/3200sec

The image above is an HDR that was created using Photomatix Pro with a 7 exposure bracket. However, that bracket was created in Lightroom from a single image.

To create an HDR (High Dynamic Range) image, you would set your camera for AE Bracketing, and fire off 3, 5, 7 or 9 shots to create a range of shots of the same subject at varying exposure levels. In normal circumstances, when shooting bracketed shots, you would want to have your camera attached to a tripod or some other way of stabilizing your shot. However, there are times when you may not have a tripod but you still have a shot that you wish to make into an HDR. It is easy to create bracketed shots from one image using Lightroom.

Below are 3 simple steps to get your single image into a bracketed set. This works best when you are processing RAW images.

Step 1: Select Image

– Select the image in the Library Module that you wish to use and right click on that image and click on “Create Virtual Copy” (keyboard shortcut: CTRL-‘ ). Do this 6 more times if you wish to have a 7 shot bracket.

Bracket

Single image in Lightroom Library

– You will now have 8 images that all look alike. Your original image, plus 7 copies.

Bracket

8 identical copies of the same image

Step 2: Adjust Image Exposures

Bracket

Quick Develop tools

  • Starting with the first copy of your image in the Library Module, select it and then click the << button three times under “Exposure” in the Quick Adjustments menu. This creates the -3 EV image of the set.
  • Next, select the next image (Copy 2) and click the << twice. This creates the -2 EV image of the set.
  • Then, select the next image (Copy 3) and click the << once. This creates the -1 EV image of the set.
  • Leave Copy 4 alone, this is your 0 EV image.
  • Next, select Copy 5 of the image and click the >> once. This creates the +1 EV image.
  • Then, select Copy 6 of the image and click the >> twice. This is your +2 EV image.
  • Finally, select Copy 7 of the image and click the >> three times. This is your +3 EV image.
Bracket

Original image plus 7 images at different exposures 1 stop apart

Step 3: Export

– Highlight your seven images and export them into your tone mapping software and finish your HDR.

Share with the community

If you are interested in sharing your images with the rest of the community here, head over to Flickr and upload your images to the Banakas Photography Group. I will be picking images to share soon.

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This post was created as part of an exercise in creating a “How To” post on Darren Rowse’s ProBlogger.net site.

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Posted on March 19, 2013 in Articles, Featured

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About the Author

My first experience with a SLR camera was many years ago during high school, taking black and white film photos and processing them in the school's darkroom. It was at that time that I fell in love with photography and post-processing. Not being able to afford the film needed to continue learning photography and not having my own processing tools, I put down the camera. Many years later, I picked up a DSLR and started using Adobe Lightroom and fell back in love with photography. I'm also found on Facebook, Google +, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram