Lightroom 2015.12: Match total exposures doesn't seem to work

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Using CC 2015.12 on Windows 10 Home. The "match total exposures" option doesn't seem to function. I don't use it very often, but it failed me the other day. I dismissed it as an oversight on my part until someone reported it in the Lightroom forum today. I tried it again, and it doesn't seem to work. Can anyone else confirm this?
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James Hess

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Posted 3 years ago

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Jerry Syder

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Just tested it on a series of photos and getting weird, inconstant results(relatively). On one pair of photos, it drastically underexposed the affected photo and in another, it worked fine and I can reproduce this over and over again, on the pair of photos where it's not working. 
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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In my experience it only works well for very similar photos.
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James Hess

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How similar are you talking about? I tried the feature on three images taken within 5 min. of each other in the same area. This is something I have used previously and it has worked without a problem. The other one that I tried was on a panorama that I shot and it wouldn't match the exposures.
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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Match total exposure assumes all of the image files being adjusted have the same "scene referred" lighting. The highlighted (most selected) image file is used as the "reference" exposure you are trying to match to. LR then simply applies an Exposure slider correction to the other image files based on the exposure setting differences (Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO setting). If the lighting was different (lower or higher illuminance) due to moving clouds, flash not fully recycled, or simply shot at different time or place the the images will not match.

If you can provide some examples or a better description it would help determine what's happening. Better yet upload two or more image files that exhibit the issue to Dropbox or other file sharing site.
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Jason Borean

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This is also not working at all for me... and no one seems to have an answer when it doesn't. Nothing changes on any of the images.
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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It's working as expected using LR 8.4.1. There seems to be some confusion as to what 'Match Total Exposure' actually does.

It looks at the image file 1)shutter speed 2) aperture setting, and 3) ISO setting and if different than the most selected image file it applies an Exposure adjustment setting in the Basic panel to match the Exposure Value (EV). A good example is a bracketed exposure file set shot to create an HDR image. In the example below the image files were all shot at the same ISO and aperture setting with only the shutter speed varied by 2X (1.0 EV). This is what you should see when Match Total Exposure is applied:

Camera Shutter Speed             Lightroom Basic Panel Exposure Setting
1/50 sec.                                             -1.0
1/100 sec. (most selected)       0
1/200 sec.                                          +1.0

If the most selected image file already has a LR Exposure setting already then the above values are added to that value as shown below:

Camera Shutter Speed             Lightroom Basic Panel Exposure Setting
1/50 sec.                                             +0.5
1/100 sec. (most selected)     +1.5
1/200 sec.                                           +2.5

If the scene lighting changed between these three shots then the exposure as observed onscreen will not match.


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Bernardo Lima

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Ooh, I see..

It's completely useless then.