HDR in Camera Raw


Today’s Question: I’ve seen you reference Camera Raw in addition to Lightroom Classic for assembling an HDR [high dynamic range] image from bracketed raw exposures. But how do you actually assemble an HDR image using Camera Raw?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can assemble an HDR image (or a panorama or even an HDR panorama) in Adobe Camera Raw by opening all of the images in Camera Raw, selecting all of those photos on the filmstrip, and then right-clicking and choosing the applicable “Merge to” option from the popup menu.

More Detail: I recommend starting in Adobe Bridge when you want to open multiple photos in Photoshop. After selecting the raw captures that you want to assemble into an HDR image (or into a panorama or HDR panorama) double-click on the thumbnail of one of the selected photos. This will open the raw captures in Adobe Camera Raw.

With the images open in Camera Raw, you should see a filmstrip with the thumbnails for all of the raw captures you opened. If not, you can click the filmstrip button toward the bottom-left of the Camera Raw interface. That button has one large rectangle and four small rectangles, representing the filmstrip display.

On the filmstrip you can then select all of the raw captures. You can hold the Ctrl/Command key while pressing the letter “A” on the keyboard, or click the first image and hold the Shift key while clicking the last image.

With all of the raw captures selected you can then right-click on the thumbnail for any of the images, and then choose “Merge to HDR” (or the options for a panorama or HDR panorama as applicable), which will bring up the dialog with the settings for merging the images together. Note, by the way, that when you hover your mouse over one of the thumbnails in Camera Raw, there is also an ellipsis button (three circles) that appears, and you can click on the ellipsis to bring up the menu where you can select the “Merge to” command.