LR4 - How to obtain the proper exposure?

Gene_mtl

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Okay, a real newbie question. But first some background.

Everything I've been reading on the web tells me that the develop module controls are completely different from anything in earlier versions. Also read you should start from the top down to best achieve the best results.

Prior to upgrading to LR4, I used LR2.7. I shoot with only one camera (Canon EOS-5D). Typically applying presets Auto-tone, Punch & Sharpening - Landscape would give me a near perfect result. I'd need to play with exposure occasionally with images having tricky lighting, but for the most part, an occasional tweak of fill light, tweaks to recovery and/or blacks, or possibly a bit of Tone curve (usually to darken background) and Bob's your uncle - an image I was happy with.

In LR4 I've yet to like any image to which I applied Auto-tone. They just seem to come out too dark. (Read that complaint alot on the web too) So most recommendations have been to first play with exposure.

I can see clearly which section of the histogram each control controls. What I am not 100% comfortable about is what to look for to determine if I've adjusted the exposure control to obtain the best first-cut setting. (I suspect that after tweaking other controls , one might need to do a finer adjustment on exposure later?)

So back to the question . . .

In LR4 to obtain the best exposure what should one look for in the image/ in the histogram?

Links to articles /tutorials, etc. addressing this issue greatly appreciated as well. (Though due to the newness of LR4 there isn't much out there that I can find so far.)

Thanks in advance for any help.
 

Gothmoth

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that´s hard to say.

you can´t really judge images after a histogram as you sure know.
you can see clipping and if it´s over or underexposed (but motive matters here too).
in the end the image has to look right for you.

so what i look for first is that i don´t clip whites or blacks.

my first step is to set overall brightness to my liking. then i adjust the highlights and shadows.

personally i have rarely ever touched the auto tone button in LR, not even as starting point for further tweaks.
i mean, im taking raw photos because i want to have full control.

so i go from top settings to bottom settings.. just like with LR prior to v4.
i do it twice or a third time... first so that im in the ballpark... a second and third time for finetuning.

i always say you don´t know if you have gone too far when you actually haven´t gone too far. ;)

as i understand it, white and black sliders are just for setting clipping points in LR4.
so once set i don´t change them.

one thing that changes from 3.6 to 4 is that i now use the CONTRAST slider.

i rarely used the contrast slider in LR prior to v4 (i only used curves). but now it´s usefull.
the 2012 process version seems to render images more flat looking by default.
 
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Mark Sirota

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In LR4 to obtain the best exposure what should one look for in the image/ in the histogram?

In LR4, look at the mid-tones. This is a change from earlier releases, when it was wise to look at the highlights while adjusting Exposure. Now, ignore the highlights while setting Exposure -- you'll fix them later with the Highlights slider.
 
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Try this... don't look at the histogram or the picture. :D

No, I'm serious. Look at the little tiny preview in the Navigator panel top left. It's easier to judge exposure when you're not getting distracted by details in the photo.

And try moving the slider to the left and right extremes before settling wherever looks right somewhere in the middle.

And finally, set the exposure wherever you would if it was the only slider that's available.
 

Gene_mtl

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that´s hard to say.
[snip]
my first step is to set overall brightness to my liking. then i adjust the highlights and shadows.
[snip]
as i understand it, white and black sliders are just for setting clipping points in LR4.
so once set i don´t change them.
[snip]
Some snipping to save space. Hope you don't mind, Gothmoth.

What you've outlined is what I have started doing. Thanks very much for explaining your workflow and confirming I'm not way off in what I'm doing.


In LR4, look at the mid-tones. This is a change from earlier releases, when it was wise to look at the highlights while adjusting Exposure. Now, ignore the highlights while setting Exposure -- you'll fix them later with the Highlights slider.

Thanks Mark. By 'midtones', I assume you mean the overall brightness of the image. I've been playing with exposure, then highlights and shadows, using White and blacks to reduce/eliminate clipping.


Try this... don't look at the histogram or the picture. :D

No, I'm serious. Look at the little tiny preview in the Navigator panel top left. It's easier to judge exposure when you're not getting distracted by details in the photo.

And try moving the slider to the left and right extremes before settling wherever looks right somewhere in the middle.

And finally, set the exposure wherever you would if it was the only slider that's available.

Will give that a try, Victoria. Thanks.

Much thanks to everyone for the suggestions. Have to assume the more we do, the more second nature it will become. (Then Adobe is issue LR4.1, correcting what isn't quite right in the Develop module, and we can relearn all over again. <Big Grin>)
 

Jimmsp

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Try this... don't look at the histogram or the picture. :D

This goes against all my practice.

No, I'm serious. Look at the little tiny preview in the Navigator panel top left. It's easier to judge exposure when you're not getting distracted by details in the photo.
Ok. It worked ok on the 1st one I tried.
I'll try more on the new batch I shot today.

Jim
 

Jimmsp

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OK. I've tried it on a bunch of new shots that have been tough for me to do - a combo of bright sun and resulting shadows.

Just looking at just the preview image worked fairly well. I then tended to fine tune a bit looking at the photo before I got to the other sliders.

Thanks.
Jim
 

Rose Weir

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Very Strong BACKLIGHTING and possibly using spot meter is the condition.
Initially its a quandry where to start when the surroundings are so bright and the main subject matter is close to the exposure desired.
Today I turned off the clipping indicators since it was a combination of irritating and useless information.

I ended up ignoring the strong backlight and exposure, contrast settings were moved according to the main object. The hightlight slider became -80 or more.
On another image with a very black cat I decided to just attempt to totally overexpose the area around the cat's body. The cat is fine, the grass surrounding is sort of bleached. Previously I could have that be practically white and without detail. Not so easy now.

Backlighting requires a slightly differnet approach then the normal image is my opinion and I wondered how others approached this type of exposure.

Rose
 
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If you want to blow out areas Rose, try moving the whites slider to the right. If you'd like to post the picture, we'll have a play with it too.
 

Rose Weir

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I may take you up on your 'offer' using the orange/yellow content on crocus instead. The highkey thing is an occassional 'effect' but spring flowers tend to have orange/yellow as a continuous thing. I posted my 'rant' on this gold crocus issue in another thread tonight.
Is it the original untouched .cr2 or the dng copy reset to default that would be 'posted'? These are typically large files and I haven't posted such a file size to a forum to date.
I'd sure appreciate input on dealing with this colour tone.

Rose
 
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You could use something like www.yousendit.com to upload a large file to. Enter your own email address in the "To" field, you get the download link sent back to you, you then post that link here which allows others to download the file to their systems.
 
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