Lightroom mobile HDR camera better than iPhone 7 HDR

Adobe has just released an update to Lightroom Mobile that allows users to take HDR photos on iPhone and Android using the Lightroom Mobile app. Adobe's great photo organizing and editing application will allow users to take their photos and then edit them after taking the photos. We'll show users how to use the app to take great photos in difficult lighting situations.

Shoot in HDR on iPhone with Lightroom Mobile

Why take HDR photos on iPhone?

First of all, what is HDR? It stands for High Dynamic Range and refers to a special type of photography in which the photographer takes three or more photos using different lighting settings for each shot. For example, the person will pull the foreground to illuminate the brightest parts of the landscape well, but this will leave the midtones and dark areas too dark. So they take another photo of the same landscape so that the midtones get the best exposure. However, this leaves the brightest areas, like a window in a room or the sky in a landscape shot, too bright. Darker areas, such as the shaded area under a tree in a landscape, appear too dark.

HDR photo example

An example of a nice landscape photo (Pixabay user source: hannsbenn ).

Professional or high-end consumer cameras often give photographers the best option for taking HDR photos. They will automatically take three or more photos using different exposure settings. Some apps will mimic that HDR look, but they don't really work that well. The HDR setting on the iPhone 7 camera works well, but not as well as Lightroom Mobile. Until now, using the HDR setting in the camera app gave users the best option to take HDR photos on iPhone, but not anymore.

Before Adobe's update to Adobe Lightroom Mobile, taking HDR photos on iPhone meant taking three photos and then exporting them to a computer. The photographer then combines the three or more shots into one with excellent lighting for all three areas, highlights, darks, and midtones. That means downloading the photos, going to your desktop or laptop, and opening a photo editor, like MacPhun's Aurora HDR 2017 editing software or Adobe Photoshop CS.

How to Take HDR Photos on iPhone with Lightroom Mobile

First, install the app and create an Adobe account if you don't already have one. To get the most out of the app, you will need a subscription. The Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan is just $9.99/month and includes access to the full desktop/laptop versions of Photoshop and Lightroom, plus the ability to sync between mobile devices and desktop/laptops . The free version allows users to take photos by following the steps below.

Once installed, open Lightroom Mobile and sign in to your account. To do this, tap the Lr icon in the upper left corner, then log in using the account's email address and password.


Take a photo using the Lightroom Mobile app camera by tapping the camera button in the lower right corner. The first time the app requests access to the camera. Tap and let it use your iPhone camera to take HDR photos on iPhone.

Lightroom mobile app camera settings

Next to the large white shutter button, you'll see a drop-down list with a down-pointing arrow next to it. It will probably say , but could read or . Select from the list when you press the down arrow.

adobe lightroom mobile hdr shooting options

The application displays a few options. User can start taking HDR photos on iPhone as it is or adjust any of the options. Options include the following:

  • 3) – either use autofocus by dragging the circle to the left along the line, or change focus by dragging to the right.
  • 4) – resets all settings to default. It's a good idea to start here and then make adjustments.
  • 5) – iPhone 7 Plus comes with 2 lenses. It switches between them.
  • 6) – locks lens exposure at current settings even if you move the camera to shoot something different.
  • Once you're in the settings, look to the right, then take the shot using the large white circle at the bottom in portrait mode or on the side in landscape mode. Most shots look best in landscape mode, but you can shoot a scene using both and later decide which is better.

    Organize and edit photos with Lightroom Mobile

    After taking the scene, the camera captures the RAW photo and then displays the results on screen for a short time. It will upload the photo to Adobe's servers for processing. It may take a while, so wait patiently, especially on LTE or slower Wi-Fi network.

    download hdr adobe lightroom mobile

    To see the results, tap the white X in the top right corner (in landscape mode) of the camera app screen. The Photo Library in Lightroom will show up. Tap the cloud to see the download progress. Tap the first entry in the list, which reads Lightroom Photos. Any photo taken with HDR will show a small HDR icon on the photo. Tap one to view it full screen and to edit it using Lightroom's editing tools. The videos below will show you how to use the app.


    You can sync photos between your iPhone and computer by following the steps in the video below.

    Examples of HDR shots on iPhone with Lightroom Mobile

    I shot a difficult scene with my iPhone. This is an example of the type of setting someone might want to use HDR in. I turned off the lights in the room and pointed the iPhone 7 Plus camera at the window and tapped on the window to expose it to the light coming in through the window in the late morning on a day slightly cloudy. Here's what the room looks like from a regular photo taken without any HDR on an iPhone 7 Plus camera.

    iphone 7 plus without HDR

    Shot with iPhone 7 Plus without HDR enabled.

    Now view the same photo using the built-in HDR setting on the iPhone 7 Camera app.

    iphone 7 plus built in HDR setting

    Shot with iPhone 7 Plus using the HDR setting of the built-in iOS Camera app.

    Finally, here is the photo taken with Lightroom Mobile's new HDR feature.

    iphone 7 plus lightroom mobile hdr

    Shot with Adobe Lightroom mobile on an iPhone 7 Plus.

    As you can see, the foreground only shows what is outside the window with good lighting. Everything else seems too dark to see what's in the room itself. There is little detail in the shadows. Strangely, the iPhone 7 Plus Camera app's HDR setting doesn't light up the room at all. The two photos, without HDR and then with HDR, have an almost identical exposure. The third photo, taken using the Adobe Lightroom Mobile app and uploaded to Adobe servers, looks better. You can see more details inside the room and outside the window. You can even see a bit of the molding around the door to the room,


    The Adobe Lightroom Mobile app does a good job of creating HDR photos. It takes a bit of time to download photos and consume data if you're taking photos away from Wi-Fi and want to see the results before you can get back to somewhere with Wi-Fi. However, I'll take all my HDR photos using Adobe Lightroom and I won't even bother with the HDR setting of the built-in iOS Camera app from now on.