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Creating a Faux-HDR Look in Lightroom and Saving It As a Preset

Lightroom HDR effect creating preset withSometimes it’s fun to take photos a little over the edge. In this video tutorial, I show you how to create a bit of a faux-HDR effect in the Develop module in Lightroom, adding a lot of light into the shadows of your photos, and punching up color and edge definition, using Basic panel settings, the Graduated Filter tool, and the HSL panel. Whether you like this effect or you create a different effect, learn how to copy your settings to other photos to test out the effect you have created, and finally, how to save your settings as a preset so that you can apply them to other photos at any time.

2017-07-09T17:51:24+00:00February 18th, 2014|8 Comments


  1. Gudkov Nikolay February 19, 2014 at 9:44 am - Reply

    Great thanks, Laura!

  2. John Woodman February 19, 2014 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    Laura – this was fantastically useful. Not so much for the faux-HDR stuff- really not persuaded – but for the tip on adding the radial filter at the right of the image so that you can get the full effect across the image. I guess this is covered in your LR5 series – I must have missed it, and I had been wondering if it could be done. Sincere thanks as always.

  3. Michael Colby February 20, 2014 at 7:40 am - Reply

    This is not creation of Faux HDR. It duplication of over processed tone mapping in an HDR app.

    Calling it Faux HDR is like caling an economy car a “Faux Ferrari” because it is painted red and a Ferrari logo has been applied to the hood.

  4. […] to a comment I made on another blogger’s post).  I did a faux-HDR effect in LR using a tutorial Laura Shoe just posted on her […]

  5. Ed Law February 21, 2014 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    Excellent example of “undocumented” LR editing techniques. Had never known of this use of ‘Graduated Filter.’ Have many times gone to PS to accomplish similar results.

    You are, and have been, at the top of my “Most admired”.


  6. Caspar Davis February 21, 2014 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    Great video, Laura. I’m recommending it to all my photographer friends.

  7. David A. Dobbs March 3, 2014 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    Originally long ago experimented adjusting raw in LR to look like HDR. Learned a few tips from you like using graduated filter to expand adjustments, thanks. I suggest also using the highlight and shadow clipping in the histogram to see the whites and blacks limits. I Never save presets, just always start with -100 highlights and +100 shadows. Suggested this technique to the lightroom queen recently. Now everyone is using it. Seen many trends come and go in my career. Just with I could convert some karma into cash.

  8. Steve March 18, 2014 at 4:59 pm - Reply

    Laura… Thank you for this and all previous videos. Now is only Adobe would upgrade LR5.3 to LR5.4 so that newly released Nikon cameras like the Df and D4s can be read. ( yes I know that PSCC and PS6 can read them with the ACR8.4 upgrade which was released a month ago!)

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