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Automatically Matching Exposure Across Multiple Images

It’s Tuesday, and we have another awesome tip from Lightroom team member Benjamin Warde, and this one is a tip I showed this past week in my tips & tricks session on the Lightroom Track — how to automatically match exposure across multiple images. It’s less than 60-seconds (as always), and it’s a really handy tip:

Thanks Benjamin! 🙂

Hope that gets your Tuesday off with a little learnin’ 🙂



P.S. Don’t forget — I’m in Minneapolis and Indianapolis next month with my full day Lightroom seminar. Come on out and spend the day with me. 




  1. Jason 25 August, 2017 at 21:27 Reply

    Is there anyway to do the opposite effect? I did a timelapse of the solar eclipse, but didn’t have time to figure out how to set a fixed exposure on my GoPro. So what I want to do is have latter photos adjusted to match the EXIF equivalent of the first photo in the series. E.g., The first photo is f2.8 at 1/240th, and the 10th image is f2.8 at 1/120th, I want to automatically darken the second photo by an f-stop.

  2. Matt Messerli 26 April, 2017 at 18:34 Reply

    Thanks for putting out this great tip! There are so many different shortcuts in Lightroom that make post processing so much simpler and faster. I find that all of the time consuming aspects I struggle with are being eliminated by short tutorial videos like this that show me in a quick and simple way how to overcome that time restriction. I look forward to seeing more shortcuts I never knew could make my life so much easier.

  3. David Terry 25 April, 2017 at 13:58 Reply

    One big caveat! Like all things automatic … this is not a perfect solution.

    Let me explain by demonstrating what you probably already know. If you have your camera in an automatic mode (let’s say aperture priority) and your subject is wearing black while standing in front of a white wall. If you “fill the frame” with your subject (only small amount of white wall is visible), then your camera will calculate one exposure for that frame which will probably over expose your subject. If you step back (or have your subject step closer to the wall) so that you get a lot of white wall with the subject smaller in the picture, the exact same settings on camera will now produce an exposure that will probably under expose your subject. Well all know this right? That’s what “exposure compensation” is for.

    So when you go into Lightroom and tell Lightroom to “match total exposure”, it does a decent, but completely automatic job. As it moves from image to image in your sequence, it makes no attempt to determine what subjects are in the frame. It simply tries to “match total exposure” as its name implies. (my guess is that the underlying algorithm averages all elements of the image together into one value and then adjust the next image so that its average calculates similarly)

    So if you once again take two pictures (a subject dressed in black against a white wall where the first image is close up and the second image includes a lot more wall), don’t be surprised at all when the subject in the two images ends up with completely different exposures when “matching total exposure” in Lightroom.

    It’s a cool tool (just like aperture priority in your camera is cool), but it’s not perfect and you’ll probably still want to make adjustments.

    • Rudi 26 April, 2017 at 02:48 Reply

      David, it doesn’t check the image. It just sets the absolute aperture value to the value from your source. I tried it with different images and it always sets the aperture of all images equal to the source image.

  4. Matt 25 April, 2017 at 11:22 Reply

    Thank you. This is one I didn’t know about.

    I should probably look into the LR menus more often since that seems to be where the new stuff tends to pop up now.

  5. Rolf Wagels 25 April, 2017 at 06:31 Reply

    if you sync, you sync the new setting, let’s say +1, which works if they are all dark, but not in the case in the video, where you have all different dark and overexposed pictures.

    Thanks for this one, I didn’t know and I am surprised to find in under settings…

  6. Stephan 25 April, 2017 at 06:08 Reply

    What is the difference with the sync option, selecting only the exposure to sync across images?
    Thank you very much!

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