Normally I will shoot photos late at night using long exposures. On the camera, the photos look great... you can see the stars bright and clearly as well as the landscape. But after importing it into Adobe's LR or PS, the photo is nearly black and I can't even work with the photo because it's just to dark. Even if I turn down the camera's screen brightness, it still comes out too dark on the computer. Any suggestions on how to fix this? I am using a Canon EOS Rebel T4i (650D).
Is Lightroom doing some automatic adjustments on import? I have a preset to enhance contrast on every image as part of the import process. I wonder if you've got something like this which is reducing the exposure value? If you view a newly imported image in Develop view, and click 'reset' at the bottom of the editing panel, this will put the image back to its original state, from this you can see the original file as captured. If the stars then appear, then it's a preset on Import.
If this is the problem, you can change the settings on import by going to the Import screen, and in the 'Apply During Import' section, you've got 'Develop Settings'. You can manage presets from there I think, or set it to none
Do you have your monitor calibrated?
Here is a basic tutorial I made sometime ago on how to make basic adjustments. http://www.otake.com.mx/Apuntes/ColorCalibration/ColorCalibration.phtml I need to update it becouse on modern lcd monitors you can not really adjust the black point.
But the most important basic part on a calibrated monitor is a decent gamma.
How is the histogram of the photo?
You need to really know if the foto is dark, or they only apear to be black. The histogram will tell the real inside information. You can not, should not, must not rely on your camera's monitor.
- Post some samples. Too dark or not too dark is relative.
My guess would be that maybe your camera - like my nikon can adjust the image in camera - sort of - The adjustments are saved almost like a script within the camera image and dont alter the image itself - a lot like the sidecar files in Lightroom.
However these in camera adjustments are usually ignored by Lightroom as they are proprietary to the camera manufacturer. So... when you import to Lightroom, what you see is the original image without any adjustments.
That way, when you import the image to some other image software, you will always get the original untouched image - for better or worse :)
When you adjust images in Lightroom, it doesn't alter the image at all either - except until you export it as a jpg or some other format. Then the adjustments are applied to the exported image and cant be undone.