Lightroom: Exported file size is much smaller

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  • Updated 2 months ago
  • (Edited)
My file size on my first export of a project in Lightroom 6 were about 15MB. I did some further editing and re-exported and now my file size from the same non-cropped image is around 2MB. Why did this happen and how do I get back larger file sizes?
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Joel Solomon

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Posted 2 years ago

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Photo of Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen

Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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What file type did you export to in the first export, and same question for the second?

Also, in the Export dialog, check you're not resizing the photo and check how much compression you're applying if it's a jpeg.
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Just Shot Me

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You did further editing  on which file? The Original or the one you had first exported from the original.
What were the File Types you exported to? What was the File Type of the original?
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Joel Solomon

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I edited just a few of the 350 originals then re-export the whole batch to jpegs. No other variable was involved. All thinks we're the same from the first export to the second, other than a few edits. First export was in the 13-15MB range, second was 2-3MB. To make it worse, I overwrote the first batch except for a few photis, not thinking this would happen. When I compare the few I didn't overwrite, there is a huge clarity difference upon enlarging.

I believe there is a programming bug. Any suggestions?
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Joel Solomon

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Oops...*all things were the same*
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JaapV

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Still no answer to pertinent questions.
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Joel Solomon

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Nothing changed from first export to the second. No compression, no quality change, nothing. Identical exports, but yet file size is dramatically different.
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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What were those 'few edits'? If you export in a compressed format like jpeg, noise reduction can change the effectiveness of the compression quite a bit. Certain color corrections can too.
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Joel Solomon

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I understand. Again, the edits I made were insignificant. It was only a handful of photos I edited compared to the other photos. When I re-exported, it changed all the untouched files to really small jpegs (2MB from 15MB). None of this makes sense, but I'm pulling my hair our over this.
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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Did you use a preset for exporting, or did you use the 'Export...' menu and filled in the details? It sounds very much like you did not use the same settings, despite thinking that you did. That can easily happen if you select a preset (and select the wrong one by mistake). I don't believe Lightroom has a bug that suddenly changes the exported files so dramatically. If it did, you would not be the first (and only) one to find it. It would be discussed all over the place.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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There's probably an easy way to tell what changed - upload a 15MB version and a 2MB version of the same photo so we can compare.
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Joel Solomon

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Well...I just tried to upload the files for you to see the comparison and got a message that I can't upload anything bigger than a 2MB file. The 2 files I wanted to upload are 2.7MB and 14.4MB. Again, these were from 2 separate exports with absolutely no settings changed. I'm baffled and very disappointed that this is happening with Lightroom.
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JaapV

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Joel, you wrote "When I compare the few I didn't overwrite, there is a huge clarity difference upon enlarging."

This suggests (or should I say: almost inevitably leads to the conclusion) that the 2MB files are of MUCH lower quality (more compression) than the originals. And that again suggests that, somewhere in the export process, you - inadvertently - moved the slider from 100% quality backwards to a lower percentage. You should be able to check that in the developing history pertaining to the original photo's that were not overwritten.

Incidentally, you still did not answer the question:
"What was the File Type of the original?"
Was it also JPEG? Or RAW? Or perhaps TIFF? Or were they perhaps JPEGs that had previously been "touched" by other photo software?
(Edited)
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Joel Solomon

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Quality slider is and was at 100. Original file was RAW exporting to JPEG. No other program was used.
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Joel Solomon

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I am now able to export much higher file size jpegs and the resolution is much improved along with it. I'm telling you, there is some kind of fluke problem with Lightroom. I did not inadvertently change any setting that would have caused this. So, for the time being, my problem is rectified. Thank you for your help!
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J Mun

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I agree Joel.  I am having the same issue with lightroom.  Used to export my 24 mpx raw files at 19 mb.  Last batch of photos down to 9 mb.  Same photos, Same settings.  Can't figure what is happening.  File dimensions all the same.  Just size smaller.  Quality is set to 100%,  Created some presets a while back and maybe lightroom is having them stuck in its brain or something.  Can't see any other reason. Deleted all presets and exported manually.  File size about half of what it was last year.  Not sure what is going on.
(Edited)
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Ali Farmer

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I am also having this issue all of a sudden. It is very baffling to me. 
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Roland Woon

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I've just had the exact same issue.
For over a year I've been using the same export settings, and suddenly my photos were exporting at much smaller sizes than usual.

I have figured out what the problem is.
I originally worked off an external hard drive, the original photos exported from the external HDD, when the issue was occouring, I didn't have the hard drive connected whilst exporting.
I have since reconnected the hard drive and then re exported the photos. Problem solved.
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Jaye Kogut

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Is this similar to basically, if I worked off my desktop computer, sent the catalog ot my editor and then re opened the catalog on my laptop where the original files weren't located -- why my files were coming out much smaller on export then?
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John Kochmanski

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I have also had this happen, but in the opposite direction. My web exports were always smaller file sizes with set heights and widths. Then yesterday the files sizes of exported files are huge and the widths and heights are not the same as the cropped file. I don't see anything that has changed in the export settings. 
Very Strange. 
(Edited)