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Tips for creating RAW HDR and RAW Panos in Lightroom CC

After playing around in Lightroom CC's new main features being HDR and Panorama, I have picked up some key tips that I will be sharing in this post.

Don't bother doing any global or local adjustments since some of them will be dropped in the merged result. For example, if you use the radial filter or the adjustment brush, on one bracket / exposure, those will not be applied to the merged file. So don't spend a a lot on making adjustments before the merge process. Instead apply those to the resulting, merged, HDR or Pano image. Things that are NOT copied over from individual exposures to the merged file are:

  • Tone settings in the Basic panel including Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, and Blacks - Only to HDR. They work for Panos
  • Crop
  • Tone Curve - Only for HDR. They work for Panos
  • Red Eye Adjustment
  • Spot Healing 
  • Perspective Correction like the Upright
  • Process Version

For HDR photo merge in Lightroom CC, actually it is better to select the underexposed and the overexposed photos for the photo merge. Lightroom for some reason performs a better result that the 3 and / or 5 brackets. 

You can do a pseudo HDR if having one exposure by taking two virtual copies of the image, underexpose the one and overexpose the other. Then select all three or just two (see above) and launch HDR photo merge. 

Shortcuts for HDR dialog screen:

  • The “A” key will toggle the Align Images feature
  • The “T” key will to toggle Auto Tone on and off
  • The “Y” key  will show the Deghost Shadow Overlay

Shortcuts for Panorama dialog screen:

  • Command + Shift + M (Mac) / Control + Shift + m (Win) will run PhotoMerge Panorama based on the last used settings (without displaying the Merge preview window).
  • Type “1” to select Spherical, “2” to select Perspective, and “3” to select Cylindrical