Processing a Realistic Landscape HDR [Video]

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Processing a Realistic Landscape HDR [Video]

By |2019-01-12T13:11:30+00:00March 27th, 2017|Categories: Tutorials, Videos|Tags: , , , , |18 Comments

HDR (high dynamic range) photography refers to creating two or more bracketed shots of varying exposures, and then blending those image together in post-processing to reveal a wider range of tones in one photograph. It’s a technique that some photographers “love to hate”, partially because it is almost too easy to go overboard with the styling. However with my photographs I prefer a much more natural look, and so I put together a tutorial demonstrating how to process a realistic landscape HDR photo using Adobe Lightroom and Skylum Aurora HDR.

Some of the techniques demonstrated in this video include:

  • Using the Aurora HDR Lightroom plugin to merge bracketed images
  • Workspace tips
  • Luminosity masking
  • Adjustment layers and blending modes

Please note: This page contains affiliate links.

Watch the Tutorial:

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About the Author:

Nicole S. Young is a professional photographer and published author whose love of photography and teaching has grown into an online business where she creates training materials and resources for other photographers. Nicole is best known for her books on food photography, but is widely versed in a variety of photographic genres, including landscape, travel, lifestyle, and even underwater photography. You can learn more about Nicole's work on her website,


  1. heath smith March 28, 2017 at 2:26 am - Reply

    Great video showing the true power of Aurora HDR. Nice work!

  2. Peter Kingma March 28, 2017 at 8:26 am - Reply

    Agree with Heath Smith. Learned some things for Aurora from your video. Things that I have never used before.

  3. George Dewey March 28, 2017 at 8:40 am - Reply

    Worth watching; an interesting video. As usual with Nicole, I learned something again.

  4. Klaus March 28, 2017 at 8:54 am - Reply

    Can you do the same with ON1, except mergin ?

    • Nicole S. Young March 28, 2017 at 9:07 am - Reply

      ON1 does not have the same ability to create detailed luminosity masks. However you could use masking to apply different effects to different areas of the image in the Effects module.

  5. Rolly D. Spradling March 28, 2017 at 9:00 am - Reply

    This is an excellent tutorial. Your presentation style is extraordinarily effective because it is easy to follow.

  6. Rob March 28, 2017 at 9:10 am - Reply

    Another good tutorial, well set up, clear and to the point. Thank you for this insight.

  7. Al Gordon March 28, 2017 at 10:42 am - Reply

    Love the masking on the individual zones! Great show and tell! Thanks Nicole!

  8. David James Davis March 28, 2017 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    Love your work but having to buy another software product is just not in my best interest! I use Photoshop, Lightroom, ON1, Nik, Topaz Adjust, and had something called HDR Pro but I can’t find that! Getting tried of spending money, for not much benefit! Sorry!

  9. Wouter J. van Duin March 28, 2017 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    Nice to see what this HDR-software can do for a landscape/seascape image like this. Makes me just a little curious if and when Trey will be ready to produce a version of Aurora for Windows. In the mean time I think I’ll be able to come a long way using Photoshop with the Tony Kuyper Luminosity Masking Panel (v5) with its many possibilities.

    • Dan March 29, 2017 at 3:40 am - Reply

      He’ll produce a version for Windows the week I buy it for my MacBook

  10. stylllyfe March 29, 2017 at 6:15 am - Reply

    Nicely done….

  11. John March 29, 2017 at 6:56 am - Reply

    The educator in you really shines through in this tutorial. Flawless presentation of the material you covered. Enjoy your presets and thanks for continuing to make your tutorials. Aurora is a really great tool, but because it is so powerful, it’s not easy to master. Your tutorial has challenged me to go back and re-HDR many of my landscape photos.

  12. Wolf March 29, 2017 at 11:59 am - Reply

    Really great tutorial – clear and strait forward! It opened my eyes concerning the abilities of Aurora. Thanks Nicole!
    A lot of work is waiting…

  13. Steve Hadeen March 30, 2017 at 7:37 am - Reply

    Appreciated this tutorial. I have used Aurora with LR and I learned some new things. I am curious; I noticed that when you talked about luminosity masking and the edits done being in orange (dot), it did not go back to white (the dot) when reset. That could cause some confusion it seems as to whether or not I reset it but I guess I would just need to click reset again to make sure. Just an observation that maybe Macphun might think about for future updates…

  14. Jannette Osborne April 1, 2017 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    Thank you for a very informative tutorial. Your teaching style is exemplary.

  15. Svein April 3, 2017 at 4:20 am - Reply

    It would be good if you marked your tutorial with “Only for Mac users”. I love going through your tutorials, but I do not use Apple products if I can avoid it. I would love to see a tutorial from you on HDR that use a tool that is available on both Windows and Mac. And Linux for that matter :-)

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