For this weeks edit we’re going to show you how to create an HDR Portraiture from a single RAW file using the SLR Lounge Lightroom Presets v5. In just a few clicks you can go from an ordinary photo to a fantastic HDR image.

[Note: In the new Lightroom Presets v5, we have revamped all of the presets to improve image tonality and quality, allowing you to achieve even more amazing results. We’ve also added 95 new presets to reach a total of 311 presets in what is the gold standard of Lightroom image processing. In this series we’ll be going over how to use the new v5 presets to create great looking photos. Click Here to learn more or purchase the system.]

With each of our Ordinary to Extraordinary Edits, we’re going to first be going through how we create our effects with the SLR Lounge Lightroom Presets v5, then we’ll be going through the details in the develop settings so everyone can understand exactly how we get to a specific look. This way, whether you have the presets or not, everyone can benefit from watching this video or reading the article below.

Lightroom Presets v5 Mixology Recipe

Develop Mixology

  • 01-10 BASE – SOFT: 17a. HDR Heavy – Skin Desat

Local Adjustments

  • Radial Filter: 03 Burn (Darken) -0.5 Stop
  • Adjustment Brush: 12 Sky | Cloud | Ocean
  • Graduated Filter: 03 Burn (Darken) -0.5 Stop

To see how these presets were applied, watch the video tutorial below.

Watch the Lightroom Video Tutorial

Complete Written Tutorial

Two very important things we want to go over for our Natural HDR Portraiture are EXIF data and Histogram. We look at the EXIF data because we want to see exactly how this image was shot, because it’s important that the image was shot correctly to get the most out of these Single-Shot HDRs When shooting Single-Shot HDRs it’s important to look at the Histogram, to make sure the Highlights aren’t being blown out and the Blacks aren’t being clipped.


We’re going to select our “01-10 BASE – SOFT: 17a. HDR Heavy – Skin Desat” preset, and then adjust our color temperature to taste. With our Color Temperature adjustment, we’re not trying to adjust for accurate skin tones, instead we’re trying to adjust for the mood of the image. We have a beautiful sunset image, and we want to add to the warmth of it.

Our preset is doing a great job of bringing the details out, and it’s doing that by dropping the Highlights and Whites and raising the Contrast, Shadows, and Blacks. The preset also lowered Vibrance and Saturation to -5, but we want a little more of both so we’re going to bring them back up to 0. Then we have our standard contrast boosting Tone Curve and standard skin desaturating HSL settings.

In our Sharpening settings we have our standard portrait amount applied by our preset. Our Noise Reduction settings are raised slightly higher than usual because this preset brings out a lot of details in the shadows, and because of that there’s also a lot of noise. Here’s what our develop settings look like.


Now we’re going to apply a Radial Filter to our photo. We want it to be subtle so we’re going to apply a large one around our couple, and lower the Feather to 50.


Now we’re going to use an Adjustment brush preset “12 Sky | Cloud | Ocean” and we’re going to apply it to our sky, clouds, and water. We want the brush application to be a little more subtle so we’re going to lower the strength of the brush. Here’s what the brush settings look like before and after.

brush preset settings on left, adjusted brush settings on right
brush preset settings on left, adjusted brush settings on right

The photo is still a little bright on the bottom so we’re going to apply a Graduated filter with our “03 Burn (Darken) -0.5 Stop” to the bottom of the image. We’re going to raise the Exposure to -0.30 to make it more subtle.


The last thing we’re going to do is bring up our exposure to +0.20, and then we’re done with our image. Here’s a before and after of our image.






Conclusion and Learn More

We hope you all enjoyed this tutorial. If you are interested in learning more or purchasing the SLR Lounge Lightroom Presets v5, please click any of the links in this article.

Stay tuned for more SLR Lounge Weekly Edits!