Lightroom is automatically darkening my photos

Started Oct 21, 2012 | Discussions thread
suddie1215 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,818
Re: Lightroom is automatically darkening my photos

Vcize wrote:

I'm having an odd issue with Lightroom 3.  When I import some new photos and click on them in my library the first time, lightroom appears to be darkening the images.

When I first click on them they are blurry, the preview loads and they sharpen out, nice and vibrant.  However the preview continues loading and eventually the image flips much darker and more washed out.  It's like Lightroom is applying some kind of preset to every photo but as far as I can tell, there aren't any presets set up.

I actually took a screen caption of it happening, which you can see in the link below.  Take note of how right as the preview finishes loading, the image becomes much darker and more washed out.  It's especially noticeable in the 3rd and 4th photos.

Any idea what's happening here?  The photos look much better before the darkening happens.

What camera brand and model are you using?  Check the menus to see if you have features like Auto Lighting Optimizer and Highlight Tone Priority (Canon) or Active D-Lighting (Nikon) turned on in your camera.

The reason for the change you're noticingis that Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw (they share the same processing engine) do not read all the in-camera settings for Raw files.The only  in-camera settings read by Lightroom/ACR are White Balance, ISO, aperture and shutter speed.   All other settings such as Picture Styles/Controls, in-camera sharpening, saturation, contrast,  etc. are not read and applied.
When your import first Raw files into Lightroom you initially see preview thumbnails based on the JPEG file embedded in every Raw file. Then as the software caches the images, the JPEG-based preview is removed and replaced with one that only uses the settings listed above.  And if you use settings like ALO, HTP, or Active D-Lighting that artificially lighten shadows areas in your photos, the change is even more dramatic and your photos will look dark in Lightroom.  But its all the first step, you can easily adjust the sliders to make the photos look exactly as you want.

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