4 Replies Latest reply on May 1, 2018 8:25 AM by Todd Shaner

    What is the best way to create an HDR from Canon RAW?

    Skip Rowland

      I have sets of interior images that I need to merge. They consist of one exposed for the exterior view through the window, one exposed for the room with available light, and one exposed for available light but strobed to fill in the shadows.

       

      Using the Lightroom 7.2, Camera RAW 10.2, Photoshop 19.1.1, I am considering the following workflow and am wondering which is the best. I also wondering if I overlooked another, better way of getting this done.

       

      1) Just use Photo Merge > HDR, then adjust the DNG file

      2) Make adjustments to each image in Lightroom, then use Lightroom's Photo Merge > HDR

      3) Make adjustments to each image, export the files, then Photoshop's File > Automate > Merge to HDR

      4) Just use Photoshop's File > Automate > Merge to HDR

       

      While I will be experimenting, I'd also appreciate community feedback to determine best practices and hopefully avoid unnecessarily reinventing a wheel. Thanks for your suggestions!

        • 2. Re: What is the best way to create an HDR from Canon RAW?
          JimHess Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          I have only done a few HDR images. But I believe the recommendation is to avoid making adjustments to the individual images prior to creating the HDR image. That's the way I have always done it. I have just used the original raw files and allowed either Lightroom or Camera Raw to create the DNG HDR file, and then made the adjustments in that file. But as long as you are experimenting you might as well try every angle and decide for yourself what works best for you

          1 person found this helpful
          • 3. Re: What is the best way to create an HDR from Canon RAW?
            JohanEl54 Adobe Community Professional

            Adjustments you make prior to merging are useless, because they will be ignored. You may have another problem however. You write that you have three exposures, the last two being "one exposed for the room with available light, and one exposed for available light but strobed to fill in the shadows". That means that these two images are not bracketed, but have the same base exposure. There is a good chance that the merge will fail, because Lightroom will detect that and refuse to merge them. You may have to merge only two: the one for exterior and the one exposed for available light but strobed to fill in the shadows.

            • 4. Re: What is the best way to create an HDR from Canon RAW?
              Todd Shaner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              I've gotten very good results using what you listed as 1) Just use Photo Merge > HDR, then adjust the DNG file. LR Merge to HDR creates a 16 bit Floating Point DNG file with Develop settings copied from the most selected image in your bracket file set. There's no need to apply ANY settings to the individual raw bracketed image files.

               

              You left out one other HDR workflow option: 5) Use Lightroom's Photo> Edit In> Merge to HDR Pro in Photoshop. With this workflow the current Develop settings are applied to each of the bracketed image files inside PS. In general your LR Default Develop settings should be fine so no need to make any adjustments to the raw files. Choose Mode> 32 Bit, which will create a 32 bit HDR file that is editable in LR.

               

              I agree with concerning the bracketed exposure settings. In general creating three image files with -2, 0, +2 EV exposure using your camera's bracketing mode is all that's required. If using fill-flash it should be set to manual mode, kept on for all three exposures, and use Aperture priority to bracket the exposure. Don't forget to allow for flash recycle time between bracketed shots.