Mar 17, 2016

How to Correct Over Exposed Images in Lightroom

How to Correct Over Exposed Images in Lightroom

Learn how to create multiple versions of the same image and combine them together to form an HDR Photo in Lightroom!

16-bit RAW Images in Lightroom

In order to achieve this effect, be sure to use 16-bit RAW images in Lightroom. 8-bit JPEGs don’t have enough information stored in the file to accurately change exposure and make up for missing information.

Create Virtual Copies and Merge to HDR

Start by creating a virtual copy of your image, then adjust the exposure slider down until the over-exposed areas become properly exposed. At this point the rest of the image may be too dark, but don’t worry about the dark areas – this image is only used for the highlight information.

Next shift-click on both the original image and the virtual copy the right-click and go to Photo Merge – HDR… Lightroom will treat both of these images as separate photos and merge the exposures together to retina information from the highlights, mid-tones and shadows. This way you can create an HDR Photo from one source image and pull information from over-exposed areas!


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    Chris Hutcheson

    great tip – one thing is to ensure that the “dominant” image (the original) is the one you highlight when selecting photo merge, as it doesn’t appear to work if you have the virtual copy highlighted.

  • user image

    Why not to use the Adjustment Brush tool with decrease exposure on the top of this image? It would be much easier and cleaner plus you don’t have to have LR CC. I use mine which is LR 5.7 and very often the wonderful adjustment brush tool is used to correct local areas exposures, sharpness, saturation and much more.

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    José Parcerisa Vilatarsana

    Hi my friend I follow every one of your tutorial and also purchased some—-You are amazing.

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    Jennifer J Whited

    Hey Aaron. Are you saying we should always have our setting on 16-bit RAW and not 8-bit JPEGS? No matter what or when we shoot?


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    Julie Boyle

    Nightime looks great. Would love to see more detailed instructions on bringing photos in from iPhones to Lightroom. Many thanks

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    peter levshin

    Excellent simple instruction, your light room skills are way better than your singing
    But hay your are in the mid west
    Good Entertainment is hard to find
    I only just found your site and have been very impressed way better than Lynda
    Cheers from LA

  • user image

    What is the advantage of doing this over, say, pulling down the highlights?

    • user image

      My question as well. Is this simply an alternate to decreasing Highlights, or does HDR do a different/better job?