How to Create The Most Natural HDR in Lightroom with LR/Enfuse

There are many HDR software out there and some of the top ones can cost you over $100. But all of those cannot create the same natural HDR results that this donationware plugin can. If you want the most natural HDR images, then you need to read this Lightroom tutorial.

Download LR/Enfuse

Before you begin, you’ll need to get the LR/Enfuse plugin. The free download limits your output size to 500 pixels so we recommend buying it. Since it’s donationware, you can pay however much you can afford and you can buy it for as low as $3.19 USD. Personally, I recommend that you just donate the $3 and skip the trial version. Then, if you like it, you can donate more afterwards.

Download LR/Enfuse

Installing LR/Enfuse

To install, unzip the file that you downloaded. In Lightroom, go to File > Plugin Manager. Click on the Add button then browse for the “LREnfuse.lrplugin” file that you just extracted. Enter the serial number if you have one.

Once you have LR/Enfuse installed, select any picture then go to File > Plug-in Extras > Blend exposures using LR/Enfuse. This menu option is only enabled if you have a set of bracketed images selected. Select “Enfuse 4 for multi-processors and Align_Image_Stack” then click install. If you have a sing-core processor or older, select the one of the other two options.

image

Using LR/Enfuse

Step 1

To enfuse your images into HDR, start by selecting three images of the bracketed shot.

Lightroom Bracketed HDR Photos

Step 2

Go to File > Plug-in Extras > Blend exposures using LR/Enfuse. This menu option is only enabled if you have a set of bracketed images selected.

LR/Enfuse

Step 3

Go to the Auto Align tab. If you didn’t shoot your pictures with a tripod, checkmark the “Automatically align images before blending them” option. This will align your images for you but will slow down the processing time but quite a bit. If you’re unsure, just enable it but it will add a significant amount of rendering time. The enfusing is really quick – it’s just the image alignment that takes a long time to process.

Enfuse Auto Align

Step 4

Go into the Enfuse tab. The default settings work fine and we recommend it for starting off. In the Fusion options, you can tell how much importance/weight to place on the exposure, saturation, and contrast. If you want better results, you can try enabling a Hard Mask but this can sometimes increase noise. Hard Mask works well on images with really fine details (ex. photo of a pencil sketch).

Enfuse HDR Settings

Step 5

Go to the Output tab. Disable the Batch Mode option since you only have 1 set of photos selected. I usually like to append “-HDR” to the end of the file name so that I know it’s been blended and I always have it reimport it into Lightroom – this will save you lots of time if you do this with multiple images (Batch Mode). I have it copy all the metadata INCLUDING the Aperture, and Focal Length (leave these disabled to include them in your EXIF data). The reason for this is because when I shoot HDR, I always have it adjust the shutter speed and leave the aperture and focal length the same. This is how most HDR shots are captured and I recommend it. If you created your HDR by changing your cameras ISO setting, then you can should all of them unchecked.

Enfuse Output

Step 6

Click Enfuse Images then wait to see the results in Lightroom. If you don’t see it, make sure that you have “All Photographs” selected instead of “Previous Import”.

Lightroom Catalog

Final Results

Here’s what the final image looks like. The HDR results are so natural that most people wouldn’t have known it’s HDR unless they saw the bracketed shots.

HDR Enfused

HDR Exposures

Posted by Lightroom Tutorials

  1. The results are splendid!
    How well does it handle ghosts?

    Reply

  2. Finally some new content… you haven’t updated since LR4 came out

    Reply

  3. I advise everyone to test the trial first. I couldn’t get mine to work it kept showing this error

    ./LREnfuse.lua:694: attempt to index local ‘handle’ (a nil value)

    Reply

    1. I am having the same problem. Do you know how to fix this?
      I can make it go away by restarting Lightroom but I rather not do that because it happened many times

      Reply

  4. This tutorial really helped my photos look fantastic! Thank you so much for the easy to follow step by step guide on how to use this sometimes difficult program to use.

    Reply

  5. this is great thanks

    Reply

  6. If you don’t want to pay for it, just go here:
    http://enblend.sourceforge.net/

    Reply

  7. great job on this tut!

    Reply

  8. Great tutorial!! Must try

    Reply

  9. Does it work as well for interiors? Is there a sample?

    Reply

  10. Thanks for the tutorial. At the final stage of the blending I get an error message AGIMPORT Session.addOne Photo to Library: Failed to import photo.

    Any suggestions as ti fix.

    THX

    Reply

    1. Sorry, I’ve never seen that message before and can’t seem to find anything online.

      Reply

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