If you’re in Lightroom editing a session’s worth of images, it’s probably fair to assume you have implemented bracketing into your shooting. It’s also fair to assume you have a sequence of shots, even if not bracketed, that were taken in the same lighting environment and thus may warrant having the same exposure. You could go through each image and fine tune them, and judging by eye to see when they are balanced and equal, but there’s a much faster and exact way to do this, and it’s as simple as selecting and clicking.
The ‘Match Total Exposure’ feature has been hiding in plain sight, largely unknown and unused by a bulk of the Lightroom user population. What it does is allow you to pick an image of your choosing with the exposure just how you want it, and then with a click of a button will adjust a group of other images to match that precise exposure. It’s quite brilliant, and equally as easy.
This kind of feature is probably really appealing to anyone in the landscape or architecture world, but even for portrait sessions, especially with natural uncontrolled light and environments this has its use. I did a photoshoot recently in an empty townhouse with no electricity and only natural light, and the variances were high, but I’ve just applied this same feature to the set with much success. It’s impressive, and a true testament to the value and power of shooting in RAW.
The approach is essentially the following: After choosing a base image and making adjustments to it if you like, hold the CMD/CTLR key and select the other images you want to be matched. These can be in the same bracketing sequence or not, and then go under Settings>Match Total Exposures, and Lightroom will do the heavy lifting for you, and in a blink.