Produced by KelbyOne

Pseudo-HDR in Lightroom

There are many techniques for giving photos a high-contrast look. Follow along with this workflow to create the effect using Lightroom.


  • Guy Einy says:

    Nice effect – yes
    Interesting pp option – yes
    HDR – No

    There’s nothing more here then what the original RAW file had in the first place

  • Mark says:


    It is a process designed to mimic the effect of HDR. The dynamic range has been expanded – yes using the information that was there in the original RAW – but expanded never-the-less.

    This is ONE technique. As I state in the tutorial, there are many techniques that can be used to create an HDR effect.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  • Angela says:

    Wow, I have tried this out on some of my photos I basically had given up on and it’s magic!!


  • Willi says:

    the overall look of this technique is good. But if you would look at the hard edges (high contrasted), you will see very strange, absolut inacceptabel artefacts that produces lightroom here, caused by the extremly use of both sliders simultaneous, for highlight recovery an fill light.
    Best regards

  • Michael Fillier says:

    This is a great technique. I was a real fan of HDR, but as a graphic designer not a photographer, shoot HDR is not really an option sometime. Now I can get the “effect” of HDR as a designer. Thanks a lot!

  • Bob says:

    A hideous unrealistic technique, but thanks for doing the video. Interesting

  • Michael Mastro says:

    This is basically the same thing I do every day in Photoshop.. What do I need Lightroom for?

  • BuBu says:

    Nice tutorial , thank you for this .

  • BartK says:

    All photos looked WAAAAY better before pp! It’s ugly cheap technique for typical photoshop pokemon!

  • Kirill says:

    Really nice technique! Thanks for sharing. HDR or not HDR, it doesn’t matter. What really matters is that this technique makes the picture look better but still being natural.

  • Daniel Boettner says:

    @Michael Mastro
    “What do I need Lightroom for?”
    … basically to manage your photos and do minor edits quick and fast.

    Maybe your a poor color blind person … very sad … otherwise your just a troll … even sadder

  • Sander says:

    Does this technique have a specific name which i can search for?

  • Darren Addy says:

    I recommend learning how to use a spot meter. The Pentax K200D (an entry level camera) has spot metering built in. You scene may be a “nightmare” for a general “center-weighted” exposure reading but not for a photographer with a spot meter.

    Also, I’m glad you use the term “pseudo-HDR” because most people are calling a lot of crap HDR, when it really isn’t.

  • Jamie MacDonald says:

    Hey Guy,

    Go to and tell me which of my images are “true” barcketed HDR’s vs. Psuedo. There is more than one way to skin a cat. Thanks for one more way to skin it Mark!

  • Jamie MacDonald says:

    Guy, there is more than one way to skin a cat. Go to and pick which of my images are “true” bracketed HDR’s vs. psuedo. Good luck.

    Thanks for the cool tutorial Mark!

  • Gary says:

    Sorry, but if you were not able to take your minimum 3 shots to create your tone mapped image, you can get SIGNIFICANTLY better results than this by opening the file in LR or Bridge and save it as a TIF, bring the EV to -2, save it as a TIF, and then bring the EV to +2 and save it as a TIF. Now bring those three images into Photomatix and get a reasonably good tone mapped image.

    Sorry, but this just looks dreadful but it is an interesting approach.

    And for terminology, we can’t see HDR images on our monitors, we can only see LDR images. What you are talking about is HDR images that have been tone mapped so they can be seen on a standard monitor or printed via a standard printer.


  • Yazeed says:

    my question is that can we create an HDR image by just adjusting a little bit from colors , sharpening , u know these stuff.. and can we make the effect also in one picture though, is it possible ?

  • Zak Mathews, Graphic Designer/Photography for the Core Studios says:

    Nice stuff, forget what half these complainers are crying about, half of them sound like they dont know what they’re doing anyway. My question though is would this technique be valid in Lightroom 1.0, minus the option of the “clarity” slider? I dont remember seeing this option on 1.0, which unfortunately for now is my only tool.

  • justme says:

    Plah. Good tech to save your bad photos, but… who is going to shoot the good ones?

  • Eliot says:

    these pictures suck balls. moreover, this technique is sad- Gary’s idea is way better.

  • BTEXAS says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your terrific technique! I tried it on a disasterous photo using camera raw. It took only a few minutes to rescue a decent image from what I felt was “point & shoot jpeg garbage”. Now, I won’t need to buy a plug in – I already have one (ACR). I just needed a talented person like you to show me how to use it.
    Too bad some commenters don’t have an open mind for new techniques developed by others.

  • g-money says:

    too much talking and not enough action. it took you almost 3 min until you actually started to show us. you must love to hear yourself…..goodness gracious.