Adobe stopped updating the standalone versions of Lightroom long ago. A feature they added to their Creative Cloud version called “DeHaze” caused extreme feature envy for us cloudless users. Guess what? There’s a way to get this functionality in the standalone version of Lightroom after all.
There’s a free Lightroom plug-in you can get from here.
It works with Lightroom version 6.1 through 6.14. The website also provides instructions for how to install it, but I’ll summarize the installation process here.
Installing the Dehaze Lightroom Plug-in
Begin by un-zipping the downloaded file into the folder of your choice.
File | Plug-in Manager…
Click “Add…” button in the lower-left of the dialog
Navigate to the directory with the “LRHazeFilters.lrplugin” folder and select it, such as:
Click the “Select Folder” button
The “Plug-in Manager” window should now show “Status: This plug-in is now enabled”
You use the Dehaze plug-in while in the Develop module. When selected, a window with a dehaze slider opens:
What’s so great about Dehaze?
This plug-in produces an effect akin to tone-mapping, except that it can also work in reverse, by adding extra haze. To get the best effect, you need to stick with RAW format when using this filter, and you need to be in the Lightroom “Develop” module.
This plug-in can also produce a nice effect for black and white pictures.
Select the Dehaze plug-in
When you’re ready to try Dehaze on your photo, click “File | Plug-in Extras | Dehaze Control”. When the Dehaze dialog opens up, you can drag the control with your mouse to wherever it’s most convenient for you.
Rid the haze by a moderate amount
Drag the Dehaze slider until you see the effect you want. I generally like the effect I get at a setting around +50. The total adjustment range goes from -100 to +100.
Going a bit too far with Dehaze
Since you don’t know what’s going too far until you do it, try going beyond what looks good, and then back off from there. Keep in mind that you can always make a “virtual copy” of a shot, and then Dehaze the copy. You can combine the “Dehazed” copy with the original with Lightroom’s “Photo Merge” feature. This can work well when you like the Dehaze sky effect, for example, but you don’t like what happens to the foreground.
As with most editing features, you’re given ample opportunities to abuse the controls. Please, please don’t go overboard. Don’t be guilty of giving Dehaze the same kind of reputation that HDR has gotten.
The final shot
You can see in the “before” and “after” versions that the sky is vastly improved.
As-shot. Too hazy for my taste.
Enhanced with DeHaze
I wouldn’t say that this plug-in is Earth-shattering, but it definitely has earned its place in my Lightroom bag of tricks. It’s simple to invoke and use, and it works. You don’t have to feel left out any more, even though Adobe might have abandoned you.