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To over expose or not, that s the question.


wasper e2
8 532 1 Ireland
21 May 2012 2:57PM
I see some images at sunrise with -EV & you see some other images with+EV. So when do we select one & chose the other?

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puertouk e2
3 1.1k 17 United Kingdom
21 May 2012 3:06PM
The trouble with over-exposing is you lose detail and shadows. If you under expose, you can bring in some highlights/shadows back to get more detail, tones etc.
Stephen
wasper e2
8 532 1 Ireland
21 May 2012 3:16PM
Wow that was quick. Thanks for reply.
21 May 2012 3:28PM
My answer is slightly different to puertouk's - If you over expose you dont lose shadow detail but you do lose highlight detail and if you under expose you lose shadow detail .. I almost always shoot in raw as the chances of recovering both is better.
21 May 2012 3:29PM
I shoot to the right of the histogram, ie let the highlights reach the far right of the histogram. Then in post I will sort out the contrast etc, i find this gives me a flat image direct from cam but is a cleaner image. Only do this when shooting in raw.
SlowSong e2
6 4.8k 29 England
21 May 2012 3:36PM
I'd rather have some detail in highlights. You can usually salvage something from shadows, but if not, then blocked up shadows look better than vast areas of bright nothingness.
mikehit e2
5 7.1k 11 United Kingdom
21 May 2012 4:12PM

Quote:I see some images at sunrise with -EV & you see some other images with+EV. So when do we select one & chose the other?


The issue here is the same as for photographs with loads of snow, water, backlit subjects and front-lit subjects. If the sun is above the horizon the sky will be very bright and the camera will try to tone it all down to midtone. The colours in the sky will be vibrant, maybe even too dark, and the foreground will be virtually black, and many clouds in the sky will also be very dark. So to maintain some foreground detail you overexpose (just as you would with snow), the sky colours will be more realistic and you will have some detail in the foreground. The sun andf part of the sky around it will always (to some extent) be burnt out so it becomes personal choice how much of the sky being 'burnt out' is acceptable.
If the sun is below the horizon then the whole scene will be more even in tone and the in-camera metering will try and bring it all to mid-tone which may mean effectively over exposing it. So to get the effect 'right' in camera you need to underexpose (many of the more spectacular sunrises/sunset colours happen on the opposite horizon to the sun which is like shooting towards the sun still below the horizon).

With digital photography, the option of using Photoshop can move the goalposts where the EV you choose is not about capturing the 'perfect image' but is about capturing maximum information that you can use in post-processing, and there is more information in bright tones than in dark tones. Also, blocked up shadows are more acceptable to the eye than huge areas of burnt-out bright areas and it is here that the histogram is your friend. As long as the histogram does not fall too far off the end of graph the highlights will be recoverable so, just like Gareth proposes, common advice is to expose with the histogram as far to the right as possible then normalise it in Photoshop. For example, if I choose to overexpose the shot to maximise shadow detail I then bring the exposure everything back down to sensible levels and it looks 'properly exposed' but you would never know by looking at it that the actual image direct from the camera is (deliberately) screwed up.
Daisymaye e2
6 20 9 Canada
21 May 2012 6:08PM
I usually take one of each under and over to see which I prefer. When I see the one I prefer I may go that direction one, two sometimes 3 stops. Being untrained I like to have options.
Coleslaw e2
9 13.4k 28 Wales
21 May 2012 6:28PM
Shoot to the right, but not overexpose, like Gareth mentioned. Then you can decide whether you want to make it darker in postprocessing.
Underexposed then trying to recover the shadow area would create noise.
Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
21 May 2012 7:18PM
Its all a matter of taste, no right or wrong.
ianrobinson e2
5 1.2k 8 United Kingdom
21 May 2012 8:06PM

Quote:Its all a matter of taste, no right or wrong.


Well said that Man, and exactly what my way of thinking about photography is.

If we all followed the same route as each other we might as well bahhhhh along the way like sheep.

what makes the greats of photography or art great, there unique way that's what.

experiment with photography and find your own way, you never know you may be that next famous photographer that has a unique way in which he produces his images Wink.
ade_mcfade e2
10 15.1k 216 England
21 May 2012 11:19PM
if in doubt, bracket
joolsb e2
10 27.1k 38 Switzerland
22 May 2012 7:34AM

Quote:Well said that Man, and exactly what my way of thinking about photography is.

If we all followed the same route as each other we might as well bahhhhh along the way like sheep.

what makes the greats of photography or art great, there unique way that's what.

experiment with photography and find your own way, you never know you may be that next famous photographer that has a unique way in which he produces his images



Very true, but to experiment usefully you really do need to understand what you are doing in order to have full control over the results.

Mikehit hit the nail on the proverbial so I won't repeat what he said. Think of the camera not as a creative tool but as a data-capture device. What you are trying to do is to capture the maximum amount of data you possibly can (OK, it's not strictly a data-capture device as decisions about shutter-speed and depth-of-focus are essentially creative choices but let's not complicate things Smile ) and the best way of doing that is to shoot raw and to use the 'expose to the right' technique that Mike outlines. All the decisions about shadow and highlight detail can be left until later when you have all the tools and subtle control that your raw converter and image-editor offer (and which your camera doesn't).

This is nothing new as the basic principle of exposing to make the most of your capture-medium was developed by Ansel Adams with his 'zone system' over half a century ago...

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