If you use Lightroom, you may be aware that Lightroom was updated a few months (Lightroom CC/Lightroom 6). One of the standout features in this new version is the ability to quickly merge HDR images inside of Lightroom without having to use Photoshop or another HDR processing app.

I photograph a lot of landscapes, and have plenty of bracketed series that have never been touched. Photographing hundreds of images on any given outing typically means that one or two are shared, and the rest end up collecting virtual dust inside of Lightroom. However, with the new Lightroom HDR Merge feature, I’m taking it upon myself to go through and salvage those photos by HDR-merging as many series as possible.

The “problem” that I slowly started to realize was that once I merge the photos, they are DNG files. Now this in itself is not a problem (it’s actually quite an amazing feature), but because all of my other RAW files are converted to DNG, then it is difficult to quickly see which photo is the HDR-merged image. In the past, all of my HDR photos were TIF files, so it was easy to spot them in the catalog.

So to solve this “problem”, I came up with a solution: a Smart Collection! I use TONS of collections with my work, and creating a smart collection for all of my merged HDR image is the best way for me to keep track of them.

Here’s how to create a Smart Collection for your Photo Merge files:

  1. In the Library module, go to the Collections panel and click on the plus icon on the top right.
  2. In the pop-up window, select “Create Smart Collection”.
  3. You will only need two settings: File type > is > DNG and Filename > Contains > HDR.
  4. Then, click the Create button and select the collection. If you have created any HDR merged files with the new HDR Merge feature, they will automatically appear in this new collection!

For those of you who also use the new Pano Merge feature, you can set up a Smart Collection for those as well! Here are the settings to use for that: