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Old 12th of March 2008 (Wed)   #1
Amfetamyne
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Default Exposing To The Right

OK people, you've been instrumental in helping me become a better photographer, so I'm coming to the well yet again.

Having read "Understanding Exposure" (among others) and just finishing Ansel Adams "The Negative," I'm taking much better shots, and actually thinking about the artistic quality of what I'm trying to capture. But a new wrinkle has appeared.

Exposing to the right....

So, thusfar, I've been exposing to get my histograms looking more like a bell curve, rather than bunched to one side or another, but I've been reading here about "exposing to the right" to increase my camera's dynamic range and thus getting better, lower-noise photos at all ISOs.

Here's my question: generally, how do you properly set up one's exposure to achieve a proper right-biased shot?

And since I shoot RAW exclusively, how would I even know when I'm properly shooting the image, exposed to the right, since the histogram as I understand it, is based off of a jpeg conversion of the shot taken?

Little help in demystifying this for me.

Thanks y'all!
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Old 12th of March 2008 (Wed)   #2
dekalbSTEEL
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Default Re: Exposing To The Right

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/...ad.php?t=66836
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Old 12th of March 2008 (Wed)   #3
Amfetamyne
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Default Re: Exposing To The Right

Quote:
Originally Posted by dekalbSTEEL View Post
Thanks, but I saw that thread. Sadly, it didn't help me. It was very theoretical. And focused (to me at least) on the "why's" rather than the "hows."
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Old 12th of March 2008 (Wed)   #4
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Default Re: Exposing To The Right

This may be too simple of an answer, but I just make my histogram fill the window as far to the right as possible without getting any clipping, i.e. running off of the right side of the graph.
Do this by increasing exposure, lower shutter speed, open apperature or increase ISO as needed for the effect desired.
(I'm still a newb too!)
Additional adjustments to the right, or left are then made in Adobe Camera Raw and CS3.
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Old 13th of March 2008 (Thu)   #5
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Default Re: Exposing To The Right

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amfetamyne View Post
Here's my question: generally, how do you properly set up one's exposure to achieve a proper right-biased shot?

And since I shoot RAW exclusively, how would I even know when I'm properly shooting the image, exposed to the right, since the histogram as I understand it, is based off of a jpeg conversion of the shot taken?

Little help in demystifying this for me.

Thanks y'all!
You need to do a little research on your camera. First download this application, Rawnalyze, which will show you a histogram of the RAW file:
http://www.cryptobola.com/PhotoBola/RawnalyzeGuide.htm
Then shoot a series of shots with gradually increasing exposure. Copy them to the computer and then compare the camera's histogram and "blinkie" display to Rawnanalyze. You will learn how much jpg clipping is still within the extra headroom of the RAW. Also, if you have a camera that shows separate color channel histograms, you will notice that the green channel most resembles the RAW. That is because the white balancing of the jpg pushs the values of the red and blue channels up, sometimes to the point of clipping, while the green is relatively unchanged.
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Old 13th of March 2008 (Thu)   #6
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Default Re: Exposing To The Right

Quote:
Originally Posted by tzalman View Post
You need to do a little research on your camera. First download this application, Rawnalyze, which will show you a histogram of the RAW file:
http://www.cryptobola.com/PhotoBola/RawnalyzeGuide.htm
Then shoot a series of shots with gradually increasing exposure. Copy them to the computer and then compare the camera's histogram and "blinkie" display to Rawnanalyze. You will learn how much jpg clipping is still within the extra headroom of the RAW. Also, if you have a camera that shows separate color channel histograms, you will notice that the green channel most resembles the RAW. That is because the white balancing of the jpg pushs the values of the red and blue channels up, sometimes to the point of clipping, while the green is relatively unchanged.
Thank you for that very useful piece of advice! I'm going to download that package today...

Along those same lines, you're saying that the green channel more accurately represents the the histogram for the RAW capture for a given image? I have a 1DmkII, so I can definitely look at the RGB histogram instead of the brightness one going forward.
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Old 13th of March 2008 (Thu)   #7
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Default Re: Exposing To The Right

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amfetamyne View Post
Thank you for that very useful piece of advice! I'm going to download that package today...

Along those same lines, you're saying that the green channel more accurately represents the the histogram for the RAW capture for a given image? I have a 1DmkII, so I can definitely look at the RGB histogram instead of the brightness one going forward.
The sensor array is less sensitive to red and blue than to green. With most light sources which are a mixture of wavelengths, the green filtered pixels get more exposure and are, therefore, the first ones to reach saturation. (The exceptions are monochromatic light sources, like lasers, or light reflected off an object that has a highly saturated primary color - a red rose, for instance, reflects relatively little green or blue light.) To compensate for this uneven spectral response a typical white balance for sunlight might apply these multipliers: Rx2.0, Gx1.05 and Bx1.4. The green is hardly touched. During RAW conversion, you can prevent the WB from causing clipping by reducing "exposure" and boosting the middle and shadow tones with "fill light" or an adjustment curve, if neccessary.
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Last edited by tzalman : 13th of March 2008 (Thu) at 10:14.
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Old 13th of March 2008 (Thu)   #8
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Default Re: Exposing To The Right

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amfetamyne View Post
And since I shoot RAW exclusively, how would I even know when I'm properly shooting the image, exposed to the right, since the histogram as I understand it, is based off of a jpeg conversion of the shot taken?

Little help in demystifying this for me.

Thanks y'all!
It is based off the embedded jpeg image, but you have some control over how useful and accurate that jpeg will be for producing a "raw" histogram. Very simply, shoot with Neutral picture style and leave all adjustments for sharpness/contrast/saturation at defaults. That way the jpeg will not be artificially "enhanced" to look so much like the butchered mess that a "Standard", or God forbid, "Landscape" jpeg becomes.

EDIT : Also, make sure you use the RGB histogram, to check whether you've blown a single colour channel without blowing the others. Don't bother with the "brightness" histogram.
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Old 13th of March 2008 (Thu)   #9
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Default Re: Exposing To The Right

Technically, "Expose to the right" is the way to bump up exposure for subjects that aren't "bright", like maybe a dark blue flower in a mostly green background:
exposing to the right question.

I shoot a lot of cars with bright chrome that has highlights that I don't want to keep, so I use this & allow those highlights, but not all highlights, to blow out.
Need an exposure crutch?

Understanding Histograms

A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO INTERPRETING RGB HISTOGRAMS
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Old 14th of March 2008 (Fri)   #10
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Default Re: Exposing To The Right

Thank you all very much!! I'm going to try to digest the info that you've provided me...There's a lot to learn!
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Old 14th of March 2008 (Fri)   #11
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Default Re: Exposing To The Right

After giving thought to the previous 'expose to the right' points, consider this very important spin-off after your read of The Exposure...

If a scene has more dynamic range than can be captured in your digital image (or film), YOU have to decide if you will sacrifice highlight details in order to capture shadow detail, or if you will sacrifice shadow details in order to capture highlight detail, or something in between. To simply 'shoot to the right' blindly assumes that the scene all fits within the dyamic range of the sensor, but it well may not fit!

So that is where Adam's concepts of exposure come into play. YOU pick the levels that are important to retain, then choose your exposure to meet those needs, and to hell with the lost shadows and lost highlights (or hope that you can get back some of the range in post processing RAW...but keep in mind a lost highlight cannot be recovered even in PP)
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