Why does Lightroom's "Auto" feature always change the exposure?

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
michaeladawson Forum Pro • Posts: 14,516
Re: Why does Lightroom's "Auto" feature always change the exposure?
4

LongTimeNikonUser wrote:

I didn't think that Lightroom would always change the exposure. I'm just a bit surprised. I also shoot RAW. I used to shoot RAW+JPG, but now it's strictly RAW unless I need to get a photo out to people right away.

The camera is metering to get some sort of average middle gray value for the photo.  How it arrives at that value will depend on the metering mode, matrix or center weighted.

One of the things to realize about post-processing programs like LR is that the "Exposure" adjustment is not the same thing as the camera exposure.  Sure, it seems to behave similarly.  But it's really just a brightness adjustment.

When you press the "Auto" button in LR you're really not telling LR to override the camera's exposure metering.  You're telling LR to act like a human and post-process the photo to get the best looking result.  That means adjusting the overall brightness/exposure in combination with the highlights, shadows, whites, and blacks to get a good overall looking photo.  At least based on the algorithms that were programmed into it.

So when LR adjusts the exposure don't think of it as LR deciding the camera's metering was wrong.  The camera's metering was designed to capture the best "exposure" without blowing out highlights or severely underexposing shadows.  The work of post in LR is to move those bits of data around to get a pleasing looking photo.

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Mike Dawson

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