Disabling Lightroom Auto highlight recovery in 2012 process

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  • Updated 5 years ago
I know this has been raised before. Usually followed by loads of unhelpful advice on how to wang things around until you get what you want. I dont want to wang around with anything though. If I set something correctly in my studio then I expect lightroom to reproduce what I set up. Not change things just because someone in Adobe has decided to provide help I dont need.

The problem is simple. I do a lot of portrait work against a white background, which is intended to be just that. Not nearly white not about white but white 0,0.0, nothing nada zilch in the way of shading.

To achieve this I shoot with the background overexposed by two full stops. If my subject is f8 the background is f16. There is nothing fancy or new about this it is what professional photographers have done down the ages to ensure white is, well you get the drift.

And then came along Lightroom 4 and 5 where for reasons beyond comprehension Adobe decided they knew better than any of the photographers using their product. They have seemingly decided in their arrogance that I must surely be mistaken and could not actually want anything pure white, So in their wisdom they have built in what they term 'highlight recovery' that destroys all my hard work. Not only that but it is not an option as far as I can see. You cannot turn it off. You cannot even work out just what changes it has made. It is simply altered without discussion.

So. Is there some secret button or setting (other than going back to process 2010) that will turn this wretched thing off? Are Adobe going to pay any attention to the professional photographers their products are supposed to be for and correct this abomination. or do we need to ditch all our carefully constructed workflows that use lightroom and move over to Phase one?
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Baron Bratby

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  • P&*@?%d off

Posted 5 years ago

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Rob Cole

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Note: I recommend using the (exposure and/or) whites slider first to get the white point up there a ways, but then hit the point curve for hard clipping the back-ground - piece of cake.
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Steve Sprengel, Champion

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I suspect the number of people who purposely try to clip their backgrounds is much smaller than the number who want their sky unclipped in a high-dynamic-range situation, and unfortunately, Lightroom brings in the same amount of revenue whether it is purchased by a sky-non-clipper or a background-clipper so the marketing to people with sky in their backgrounds wins over those who purposely clip their backgrounds.

However, if auto-highlight-recovery can be turned off within the new PV2012 algorithms, and maybe it can't, then I'm with you on thinking that should be an option, somewhere in the UI. You're not the first person to want this.

Another way to look at the situation is that the camera sensor is not nearly clipping, yet, with only two stops overexposure, so if you want the background clipped, then actually clip the raw data, which requires more light.

By examining your raw files with a program like RawDigger, you can get an idea how many stops more it would take to clip the raw data:

http://www.rawdigger.com/

(click on the red raw-digger version number at the top of the page)
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Rob Cole

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It's easy to get frustrated when you're used to one thing, and are then "forced" to adapt to another. The highlight recovery in PV2012 is the best in the business in my opinion, despite not being optimal in some photos. And mostly with enough experience using PV2012 one can get better results overall than with PV2010, even if there are some aspects of PV2010 which would be preferred.

To be clear: clipping backgrounds is simple using the point curve - obvious once you realize it, until then: not so much...
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Rob Cole

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I can think of reasons to want the tonal behavior in the whites without auto-highlight recovery (I prefer it in some photos), but clipping backgrounds is NOT one of them - use the point-curve, Luke: it'll clip that white background perfectly and completely: read my lips - all the bennys of PV2012 with perfectly and completely clipped background - no need for fallback to PV2010. - case closed AFAIC.

Note: clipping point curve can be saved in preset, and/or sync'd...