Match Total Exposure: The Lightroom Trick That Will Save You Hours!

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Have you ever found that when you are reviewing a set of photos in Lightroom, they have different exposures, even though the photos were taken seconds apart? This can be due to using automatic or semi-automatic shooting modes on your camera, because the camera meters each shot individually, causing the different exposures.

Adjusting the exposure on each photo individually would be extremely time consuming, which is where Lightroom’s Match Total Exposure tool comes in handy! With this tool, you can match the exposure of multiple photos to a base image with just a few clicks.

How to Use Match Total Exposure

1. Adjust your base image.

In the Develop Module, edit the image you will be using as your base image. Choose a photo and edit the exposure how you want. The exposure on this image will determine the exposure in the whole set of photos!

2. Select the images you want to match the exposure to.

Select your base image first, then use Command or CTRL to select the images you want to apply the matched exposure to. When selecting your images, make sure the base image is the one that is selected with the most opaque white selection background!

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3. Apply Match Total Exposure!

Once you have all of your photos selected, select “Settings” from the top bar in Lightroom, then select “Match Total Exposure” from that drop-down menu.

match total exposure

Once you click that, Lightroom will go to work and match the exposures across all your photos!

before and after match exposure


This Lightroom trick is one that will save you hours of editing time! In addition to slight variations in exposure, it can also be useful if you ware using the bracketing feature on your camera. This feature captures the scene multiple times at different exposures. Rather than having to adjust each image on its own, you can set the base exposure and use Match Total Exposure to match them all in seconds!

Another important thing to note is that this is a trick that works best when you are shooting in RAW. Shooting in RAW allows for large swings in exposure, as there is enough information available to make the changes without ruining your photo.