16 Replies Latest reply on Jul 5, 2017 11:11 AM by cdw.design

    Help Needed With Auto Exposure Settings

    Sp4rke Level 1

      Hi Everyone,

       

      When I do high volume work in RAW it would be really handy to be able to apply the auto exposure setting in Lightroom to a batch of images just to get a base point from which to review the images and see which ones I like/don't like and which I wish to develop properly.

       

      However, I am finding that using the auto exposure setting is doing horrible things to my images, as an example I just applied it to a random image and it moved sliders to the following positions:

       

      Exposure +1.07

      Contrast -6

      Highlights -39

      Shadows +39

      Whites +27

      Blacks -12

       

      This has resulted in a massively overexposed and noisy image (the original image needed only a minor tweak to exposure imho) and this sort of result is consistent whenever I try to use the auto setting and across many different images

      Using Lightroom 5.7.1 with Raw 8.7.1 and processing CR2 files from my Canon 5D MkIII & 500D

       

      I can see from these forums that other people have experienced similar problems but can't see any solutions

       

      Has anyone solved this issue or have any helpful tips?

       

      Many thanks

        • 1. Re: Help Needed With Auto Exposure Settings
          dj_paige Level 9

          As far as I know, there are no auto exposure settings. It is a one-click deal, what you get is what you get.

           

          Better you might want to create develop presets to apply to your photos, so that for example, you can in one step, change all selected photos to Exposure +0.5, Contrast +20, Vibrance +25, or whatever other combinations of sliders appeal to you.

          • 2. Re: Help Needed With Auto Exposure Settings
            Sp4rke Level 1

            Correct dj_paige, it is a one click deal - what I'm asking is why is it so awful and are there any tricks to get better results with it? Presets are great and I do use them, but they do not vary results from image to image so are no use when batch processing 1000+ images taken in differing light.

            • 3. Re: Help Needed With Auto Exposure Settings
              dj_paige Level 9

              what I'm asking is why is it so awful and are there any tricks to get better results with it?

              Speaking as a Lightroom user (since I do not work for Adobe and I haven't programmed this aspect of Lightroom), I cannot answer "why"

               

              There are no tricks, you get what you get.

              • 4. Re: Help Needed With Auto Exposure Settings
                Sp4rke Level 1

                Wow really?!  I just find it amazing that a company like Adobe which is so well known for amazing imaging software would include an option in its processing that is so dire ........ I mean, just look at the slider values it used, that can't be a normal way to process an image!! the resulting image isn't even close to being correct in any sense an as I say, this happens to most of my images.

                • 5. Re: Help Needed With Auto Exposure Settings
                  Keith_Reeder Level 4

                  Lr's "Auto" has been complained about many, many times (try a site search) - it is what it is, and the only real solution to its inconsistency is not to use it.

                  • 6. Re: Help Needed With Auto Exposure Settings
                    Sp4rke Level 1

                    Kind of makes me wonder whether I should even be using LR in my workflow - I have photoshop & bridge so if the auto batch processing option in LR is unusable I can't really see any other reason to continue using it?!!

                    • 7. Re: Help Needed With Auto Exposure Settings
                      dj_paige Level 9

                      sp4rke wrote:

                       

                      Kind of makes me wonder whether I should even be using LR in my workflow - I have photoshop & bridge so if the auto batch processing option in LR is unusable I can't really see any other reason to continue using it?!!

                      Well, if your ONLY reason to use LR is for the Auto, then yes, I agree that LR is now a waste of time for you.

                       

                      But really, aren't there other reasons you are using LR? Isn't processing 1000 images still easier using Lightroom than Bridge or Photoshop? (I really don't know, maybe not for your application, but for my application, the answer is that it's still easier in LR)

                      • 8. Re: Help Needed With Auto Exposure Settings
                        Keith_Reeder Level 4

                        dj_paige wrote:

                        But really, aren't there other reasons you are using LR?

                        This.

                         

                        I use Lr every time I need to convert/process in volume (and shooting sport and wildlife, that's not an uncommon situation), and the want of satisfactory Auto Exposure in Lr has never hurt me even a little bit - no software knows how I want an image to look, and I'm kinda baffled about why anyone would expect Lr to.

                        • 9. Re: Help Needed With Auto Exposure Settings
                          Sp4rke Level 1

                          You are of course correct that people have different needs when using these programs - from my poiny of view I would have to disagree.

                           

                          If you have to process each image seperately, then I can't see how lightroom is faster and given that things like spot healing and cloning are easier and more predictable in photoshop and given that I sometimes can't accomplish everything I want to do to an image in LR alone and so need to switch to PS sometimes anyway, then I may as well just stick to PS.

                           

                          Once you also factor in plugins which will only run from PS and not LR that situation becomes even clearer.

                           

                          I would miss the ease in which LR previews and applies presets but I can use Topaz Adjust or similar plugins to have similiar functionality in PS.

                          • 10. Re: Help Needed With Auto Exposure Settings
                            Sp4rke Level 1

                            Art is subjective Keith so I would never expect any program to know how anyone wants their final image to look, neither did I expect LRs auto function to accomplish this.

                             

                            I shot volume jobs in unpredictable light, this can result in a larger proportion of under/over exposed images (much higher than when I am shooting normally) it would have been handy to use the function to correct this in batch before then looking at the images more closely - literally just a first step

                             

                            My assumption would be that LRs auto function would be more aimed at correcting exposure rather than polishing images (especially given your correct statement about it not knowing how you want an image to look)

                             

                            I just thought that given the above we might expect better results from the function

                            • 11. Re: Help Needed With Auto Exposure Settings
                              Keith_Reeder Level 4

                              sp4rke wrote:

                               

                              Art is subjective Keith

                              (We're calling photography "art" now? What's creative or artistic about pressing the Auto Exposure button?)

                               

                              OK, what you've just written is a perfect justification for why Lr's Auto is what it is: during the design and testing stages, someone obviously (subjectively) liked, and signed off on, the results it generates...

                              • 12. Re: Help Needed With Auto Exposure Settings
                                Bob Somrak Level 5

                                sp4rke wrote:

                                 

                                 

                                overexposed and noisy image (the original image needed only a minor tweak to exposure imho)

                                If you ONLY want to AUTO correct exposure you can just shift-doubleclick the word "Exposure" and only the exposure will be auto corrected.  The other sliders in Basic work the same way.  May still not be the exposure you want.

                                • 13. Re: Help Needed With Auto Exposure Settings
                                  Sp4rke Level 1

                                  "(We're calling photography "art" now? What's creative or artistic about pressing the Auto Exposure button?)"

                                   

                                  Many years ago I gained a degree in photography which is classified as a BA so calling photography art is nothing new ;o)

                                   

                                  As stated I only wanted to use it as a first step,nothing creative about it at all, just a means to an end - my creative process starts after I have selected which images to use.

                                   

                                  We seem to be getting side tracked into talking about artistic vision - I dont think the auto function is anything to do with artistic vision or ever could be and I wouldn't have thought LRs developers intended that either. I would have assumed it was intended as a quick way of balancing the exposure of an image (obviously not every image needs this and some images are low/high key on purpose but LR couldn't ever know or predict that)

                                   

                                  Whichever way you cut it I am still surprised by the wild values it uses for things like black/white & highlight/shadow - maybe you're right and the designers just envisioned a different use for the function! maybe I am expecting too much and it is impossible for LR to predictably make these adjustments.

                                   

                                  As an aside, Photoshop has functions for Auto Tone, Auto Colour & Auto Contrast - I hardly ever use them and the result might not be what you intended BUT the result is always balanced and they ever don't completely ruin your image.

                                  • 14. Re: Help Needed With Auto Exposure Settings
                                    Sp4rke Level 1

                                    Yes, thanks Bob.  I did know about the shift double-click trick but you can't batch that unfortunately ;o)

                                    • 15. Re: Help Needed With Auto Exposure Settings
                                      trshaner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      sp4rke wrote:

                                      I dont think the auto function is anything to do with artistic vision or ever could be and I wouldn't have thought LRs developers intended that either. I would have assumed it was intended as a quick way of balancing the exposure of an image (obviously not every image needs this and some images are low/high key on purpose but LR couldn't ever know or predict that)

                                      I think you answered your own question! Do you process landscape images the same way as studio portraits? The LR Auto Tone algorithm knows nothing about the subject matter in your image files. My guess is that the Auto Tone algorithm is tuned for what Adobe has identified as a "standard" image with a "normal" dynamic range. Your images and preferences may be quite different than Adobe's single Auto Tone target.

                                       

                                      In order to make the LR Auto Tone function perform better Adobe needs to do two things:

                                       

                                      1) Provide an Auto Tone drop down menu with selections for different subject types and intent, similar to camera profiles.


                                      Subject Type: Standard, Landscape, Portrait, Faithful

                                       

                                      Intent: Low Contrast, Normal Contrast, High Contrast

                                       

                                      2) When applying Auto Tone to cropped images only the pixels inside the cropped image area should be anlayzed. Currently cropped images are Auto Tone based on analysis of the entire uncropped image.

                                       

                                      SUGGESTION:

                                      You can speed your LR workflow by creating and using custom Develop presets with 'Calibration' (camera profile) and 'Basic Tone' panel settings that work well with specific image types. I often use a Develop preset that simply applies Exposure +0.50, Highlights -50, Shadows +50 and my ColorChecker Passport Daylight camera profile. It has proven to be a very good "starting point" for many subject types shot with my Canon DSLRs........YMMV! You can then fine-tune and apply these settings across multiple similar images using the 'Sync' button.

                                      • 16. Re: Help Needed With Auto Exposure Settings
                                        cdw.design Level 1

                                        Hi ho,

                                         

                                        I may be a little late to join the party, but can't you just do the following:

                                         

                                        LIBRARY
                                        Select all images -> Auto Tone

                                         

                                        and after that:

                                         

                                        DEVELOP
                                        Pick one image, set everything but exposure to zero -> select all imges -> SYNC everything but exposure to zero.

                                         

                                        Maybe that might help you out in the future

                                         

                                        Cheers,
                                        Chris