As you edit your images, have you ever noticed how many times you adjust the Exposure Slider?

Way too many times.

Let Lightroom’s match total exposures help you to fix the exposure across many images quickly and easily.

What is Match Total Exposures?


Match total exposures allows you to correct exposure problems on many images at once by taking the exposure settings of a base image that you choose and smartly applying that exposure across many images, evaluating each successive image individually, based upon the unique camera settings used for each image.

This means rather than syncing a generic exposure setting across multiple images, you fix one image to your taste, and then tell Lightroom to fix the exposure of the remaining selected images based on each images own unique f-stop, shutter speed and ISO.

By doing this, Lightroom makes educated adjustments based on the camera settings and your own personal setting of exposure on the base image, which leads to more correct syncing and less editing by you.

This little trick has literally saved me hours of work over the course of a year, just in reducing the exposure adjustments I have to make to my images.


How does Match Total Exposures work?


image of the lightroom settings menu with match total exposures selectedMatch total exposures is smart, and that is what we when editing our images.  It allows for faster editing without having to go back and fix the errors that happen when you sync settings across multiple images.  How it works, is you select all the images you want to have the exposure fixed.

Select a base image, and correct the exposure with the exposure slider on that particular image.

While in the develop module, go to the settings menu and select Match Total Exposures.  Here is where the magic happens.

Lightroom compares the camera settings of each image you have selected to the base image.  It then calculates those settings along with the exposure sliders setting that you adjusted on the base image to create a perfectly exposed image, and intuitively adjusts the exposure slider of all the others images based on that calculation.

If you’re still muddy on this, keep reading and watch the video and I bet it will all come together for you.

How to use Match Total Exposures.


All of the images below were shot in APERTURE PRIORITY mode at the same f-stop.  The exposure is incorrect because of the brightness difference between the trees and the snow.




Normally, I would have to fix the exposure of each image individually.  Or, I can adjust the first image and sync the exposure setting across all of the images and hope that fixes the exposure problems.  If the images are all shot in the same spot under the same light, and with the same camera settings, this might work.

But you’ll notice that the first image was over exposed while the remaining three images are darker.  The image below shows how I adjusted the exposure of the first image and synced the exposure slider across all of the images.




It didn’t work.  The first image looks good, because I adjusted it but the next three are too dark.

This is where the power of match total exposures comes to the rescue.

As I select match total exposures, Lightroom fixes the remaining three images intuitively based upon the images unique camera settings and the exposure slider of the base image.




Watch Match Total Exposures in Action.


This Lightroom setting is an incredible editing time-saver and help you to spend less time in front of the computer.

Check out the video below to see exactly how match total exposures can work for you.



Hey guys in this video we are going to talk about match total exposures. I pulled a few images out from a bridal shoot that I did and you can tell that the exposure on all of them is different.

These ones are too bright. These ones are pretty close to being right and then these ones down here are too dark. And if I go into the develop module let me bring up the overlay.

You’ll be able to see that they were all shot at 1.8.  I shoot in aperture priority mode which means my Aperture is not going to change but my shutter speed is varying on all of these images whereas the lighting and all of them is pretty much the same we’re in shade we’re an open shade and I’m including more or less of the snow.

And that’s kind of where my camera is getting messed up is in this image where I’ve got more snow in it. It’s it’s making the image darker trying to get detail in that snow.

And in this image where I’ve got mostly the dark trees it’s trying to bring out detail in those. And so it’s basically missing all of them. And so if I was to go to this very first image and I was to just try to fix its exposure so I’m not going to really fix anything else. And then if I go to a sink or it let me select a model and go to sink if I have exposure checked here and I sync everything across you’re going to see that it starts to get my exposure correct on the ones that match.

But on the ones that don’t match it actually makes them worse it makes them darker.

So what’s happening is I’m taking away a stop and a quarter of light.

Lightroom is just trying to do that carte blanche on all of the images it’s basically saying you’ve told me to take a stop and a quarter of light from every image that you have selected.

And that’s not the correct way to do this because taking a stop on a quarter doesn’t fix anything. It only fixes the ones that match but the ones that don’t match it actually makes them worse. So what we want to do is we want to go up here into the settings menu and you want to go to match total exposures.

If I click on that what that’s going to do is it’s going to take into account the f stop and then it’s going to take into account your exposure setting and it’s easy to give you a reading of what the light should be like for each individual image.

So if I now click through these you’re going to see that they’re all very very close that they’re exposed pretty much correctly. But you’ll see that my exposure now is correct on all of them. And so if you bracket or if you shoot an aperture priority mode or shutter priority mode or program mode then match total exposures is going to be a setting that you find very useful and saves you a lot of time.

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It is time saving tricks like this that allow you to edit faster and spend more time shooting and less time in front of the computer.  I use match total exposures many times as I edit a session.

In general, my process of shooting is to pick a location, take several images in that spot, and then move to another spot to take some additional images.

When I am editing, I edit all the images in each specific spot together, and use match total exposures across them.  This means, if I shoot in 4 different spots for an engagement session, I use match total exposures four times, across all of the images for each spot.

However you choose to use match total exposures, as you incorporate this shortcut into your editing workflow you will easily save a lot of time and effort.


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