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Lightoom underexposing


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The last week lightroom classic cc has had me tearing my hair out as it for some reason has taken to massively underexposing everything.  After some feedback from the forum I understand I need to get my images brighter and so made some changes both in camera and in Lightroom import settings - but even if I undo these  Lightroom still makes stuff dark when I use the auto button to tweak variables.  Not a little bit dark like the shots I already have up but it will take a shot where I have the exposure spot on with a lovely curve on the histogram  and if I press the auto button it takes the exposure down sometimes 1 and a half stops and drops the contrast to - 20 to -25.  Yes I can fix it by moving all the sliders independently but that takes time and I thought the whole point of the auto thing was to be able to quickly tweak shots especially if you are working through a lot (like 200 on a Saturday night from that afternoon's football that should ideally be published the same night)

I know there are loads of different Lightroom forums but I have no idea which are any good and a trawl through google just threw up people with the same issue but unsolved or a different issue altogether so I thought I would start here in the hope that someone has either had the problem and solved it or knows which are the Lightroom forums worth visiting

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I use the Auto button as I guideline.  After that, I do all other adjustments individually by eye.  Assuming you have a calibrated monitor (so that you are seeing the images as they truly are) that is the best way. 

 

Your current images appear too dark to me, and most of them consist of a lot of dark shadows. You need to open up the shadows and generally try to avoid shots from that angle when the sun is low and shadows are long.

 

Jill

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Just now, Jill Morgan said:

I use the Auto button as I guideline.  After that, I do all other adjustments individually by eye.  Assuming you have a calibrated monitor (so that you are seeing the images as they truly are) that is the best way. 

 

Your current images appear too dark to me, and most of them consist of a lot of dark shadows. You need to open up the shadows and generally try to avoid shots from that angle when the sun is low and shadows are long.

 

Jill

I am working on those areas but this problem is way beyond that - image taken middle of the day properly exposed in camera good histogram and it takes it and crams the histogram to the left so you have darks and blacks barely any mid tones and no light at all.  It is like a "how not to process the image" thing.  Useless for guidelines even.  I will see if I can get some screen shots to show what it is doing to the histograms

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OK this is a picture I grabbed at random just to show the problem with the histogram change to dark.  The first image is the unedited unaltered one the second is what lightroom is doing unedited_zpsdurhzppi.jpgedited_zpsktbabzud.jpg

I mean I know its not a brilliant histogram in the first place but the last thing it needs is to be squashed to the left - and it is happening on all my pictures

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I can see it is certainly squishing to the dark.  Not sure if that has anything to do with the high ISO, but if all your images are coming out like that, confuses me.

 

I am one who pays little attention to the histogram.  I do everything by eye.  Once I like the finished image, I'm happy, no matter what the histogram says, although if I check it, it usually agrees with me.

 

Jill

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1 minute ago, Jill Morgan said:

I can see it is certainly squishing to the dark.  Not sure if that has anything to do with the high ISO, but if all your images are coming out like that, confuses me.

 

I am one who pays little attention to the histogram.  I do everything by eye.  Once I like the finished image, I'm happy, no matter what the histogram says, although if I check it, it usually agrees with me.

 

Jill

Does it on all iso readings - even 100.  I too generally ignore the histogram its just it is the best way of demonstrating what is happening.  I mean the bottom picture is way-way too dark - even if I was trying something arty to make the dragonfly glow I am losing detail because of the dark.  

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13 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

Has there been a sudden change? If so does it relate to something you have done? Is the camera vivid profile new? Do you have an import preset?

The camera vivid profile is new - but putting it back to camera standard does not change what Lightroom does even if I change it to standard before telling Lightroom to do anything.  Again if I use the previous preset, the default preset, or this preset (which is the same as the previous in everything except it uses vivid instead of standard).  I have tried the settings in all different ways and it still does it.

It has always done it with odd photos - which I understand is normal - and to be honest the odd photo does not bother me.  It is only the last week or so that it seems to be taking all the shots I got right in camera and making them dark as hell.

PS just occurred to me to check in- camera settings - don't know how long they have been vivid but changed them to standard and it made no difference lightroom still hugely over darkened.

 

Edited by Starsphinx
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On that particular image, I would leave the dark background (I kinda like it) but use the adjustment brush to increase shadows and exposure on the flower and parts of the insect.

 

Jill

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Maybe uninstall LR and then reinstall and see if that helps.  Could be some setting somewhere that is stuck and you don't know where to find it.  Amazing what uninstall and reinstalls can do.

 

Jill

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1 minute ago, Jill Morgan said:

On that particular image, I would leave the dark background (I kinda like it) but use the adjustment brush to increase shadows and exposure on the flower and parts of the insect.

 

Jill

I am going to play around with that one quite a lot - I do have whole load of that particular dragon fly who was cooperative enough to sit still lol

 

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1 minute ago, Jill Morgan said:

Maybe uninstall LR and then reinstall and see if that helps.  Could be some setting somewhere that is stuck and you don't know where to find it.  Amazing what uninstall and reinstalls can do.

 

Jill

It might have to come to that grrr

 

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Just now, Alex Ramsay said:

I find the auto button on Lightroom (v6) almost invariably over-exposes everything

 

Alex

We can either swap Lightrooms or go down the pub and cry in each others beer.  I prefer the second lol

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I never use the auto button. I adjust each slider to my liking by hand. But I can see auto being useful to process many.

Although when I’ve had many to process, I still never use the auto button. The time or two I tried it, I didn’t like the look of the image.  I usually only process a couple of the same subject. I go through my images in Bridge, keep only the best, delete the rest. Then import to LR. Your insect? Unless it changed poses or I took profile and front on shots, out of the many I would process one horizontal and one vertical. That’s all. Your CTR would thank you.

Betty

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2 minutes ago, Betty LaRue said:

I never use the auto button. I adjust each slider to my liking by hand. But I can see auto being useful to process many.

Although when I’ve had many to process, I still never use the auto button. The time or two I tried it, I didn’t like the look of the image.  I usually only process a couple of the same subject. I go through my images in Bridge, keep only the best, delete the rest. Then import to LR. Your insect? Unless it changed poses or I took profile and front on shots, out of the many I would process one horizontal and one vertical. That’s all. Your CTR would thank you.

Betty

+1, I never use the auto button - always do each image individually and manually - I go through all the images in Lightroom, selecting those that I want to work on (red flag), and then go to the develop module just on the selected images

 

Kumar

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I've always used Auto tone on import as I find it saves a lot of time, although I usually have to pull down the highlights quite a bit- but  there's a preset for that;).

I don't know what Sphinx's install is doing-  I've fallen foul of stray tickboxes before now but there don't seem to be any in the preferences that would do what it's doing.

Edited by spacecadet
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I just want to make it clear that the auto button is not so much of a problem when I am doing stuff just for Alamy - it is at other times  I can have a huge amount to process with time pressures.  I can shoot over 700 shots of a football match with 150 to 200 being good enough to process for 75 to 100 published on my site (and yes odd ones are not sharp but I am asked for them) and am looking to get those 150 to 200 processed in 3 hours.    It is still a pain when doing Alamy stuff as I usually start an image by clicking it to see whether I like the result - I then either reset it and start from there and tweak or I start from its settings then tweak more.   However, it remains that I am pretty sure it should not be doing what it is doing and I would like to fix that lol

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Looks like the auto tone is playing havoc with your image.  I tried it when I first used Lightroom - and hated it.  Whatever algorithm they use needs serious work. 

 

On your particular example I can see (just) that the exposure (mid tones) has been dialled back to -1.76 on the processed image.  No wonder it looks too dark.  I'm no lightroom expert but I'd have left the exposure at 0  or even increased it and brought down any over exposed areas with the adjustment brush at 100% magnification rather than darken the midtones.  It would be interesting to see what your other settings are for the Auto tone to produce such a rubbish result

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4 hours ago, John Richmond said:

Looks like the auto tone is playing havoc with your image.  I tried it when I first used Lightroom - and hated it.  Whatever algorithm they use needs serious work. 

 

On your particular example I can see (just) that the exposure (mid tones) has been dialled back to -1.76 on the processed image.  No wonder it looks too dark.  I'm no lightroom expert but I'd have left the exposure at 0  or even increased it and brought down any over exposed areas with the adjustment brush at 100% magnification rather than darken the midtones.  It would be interesting to see what your other settings are for the Auto tone to produce such a rubbish result

John, I hate to hijack this thread, but would you look on my front page at the image I’ve identified as a Colorado spruce ‘fat albert’? I did boatloads of research but am unsure if I got it right. Location, Wichita, Kansas, USA. The last thing I want is to get my plants wrong, yet they are the hardest things to classify. If it is wrong, then I’ll have to delete because I’ve exhausted my resources. The tree/shrub is in the side yard of our new-to us-house. It’s about 6-7 feet tall. If you can’t know easily, forget it. I know U.S. plants are out of your territory. 

Betty

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6 hours ago, Betty LaRue said:

John, I hate to hijack this thread, but would you look on my front page at the image I’ve identified as a Colorado spruce ‘fat albert’? I did boatloads of research but am unsure if I got it right. Location, Wichita, Kansas, USA. The last thing I want is to get my plants wrong, yet they are the hardest things to classify. If it is wrong, then I’ll have to delete because I’ve exhausted my resources. The tree/shrub is in the side yard of our new-to us-house. It’s about 6-7 feet tall. If you can’t know easily, forget it. I know U.S. plants are out of your territory. 

Betty

Hi Betty

 

As you say a little out of my comfort zone.  I'd have expected a bluer coloration for a blue spruce variety but it's not really in my area of expertise.  I'll have a look this evening when I've got a bit more time and see if I can come up with better ideas.

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14 hours ago, Doc said:

+1, I never use the auto button - always do each image individually and manually - I go through all the images in Lightroom, selecting those that I want to work on (red flag), and then go to the develop module just on the selected images

 

Kumar

+1 likewise I have never used Auto. Much better to set up a basic processing preset which is applied to all photos upon import (assuming you are shooting in RAW). Then you can tweak one photo a little, and if they are similar, you can copy and paste the changes to all the rest. It did take me a while to learn all this but there are excellent You Tube videos available. You can process a large batch pretty quickly this way. 

Edited by Sally
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7 hours ago, John Richmond said:

Hi Betty

 

As you say a little out of my comfort zone.  I'd have expected a bluer coloration for a blue spruce variety but it's not really in my area of expertise.  I'll have a look this evening when I've got a bit more time and see if I can come up with better ideas.

👍

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8 minutes ago, JeffGreenberg said:

Don't use Lightroom, but...

after auto adjust, select all & "up exposure" +0.5 or +0.7 or whatever...?

LR is not supposed to do what it's doing to OP's images. "Auto tone" commonly increases my exposures by up to 1.0. It depends on the subject- I use centre weighted AE. It rarely reduces, and never by anything like as much as 1.75.

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