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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre People Talk 
Thread started 18 Mar 2012 (Sunday) 18:06
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Is slightly overexposing the new black?

 
schlagle
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Mar 18, 2012 18:06 |  #1

I'm very new to protrait photography. Never much cared for it but now that I have a kid, well, you know. Anyway it seems that most of the portrait photos I see are slightly (or more) over-exposed. Is this true? I could be cokmpletely off base here. And, if it it true, then why?


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Mar 18, 2012 19:51 |  #2

Be helpful to see an example or two of what your looking at to really comment if it is over exposed etc.


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Mar 18, 2012 19:56 as a reply to  @ Justaddwata's post |  #3

Pictures are really important here.

In general, it's better to overexpose than underexpose. But it's actually kind of a thing to underexpose in fashion pictures a lot. Sometimes people over expose a bit to get better vibrant colors.


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Mar 18, 2012 21:44 as a reply to  @ TheBrick3's post |  #4

An example would be nice. I see a heavy trend in applying lightroom filters that mimic bleach bypass and lens flare. I could see how that would look overexposed.
Meanwhile, with digital it is best to slightly overexpose. Check out some of the threads on "exposing to the right". That's not meant to be overexposed as the final result. But I thought it was worth mentioning.


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schlagle
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Mar 18, 2012 22:28 |  #5

I'll try and find some examples to post. I just feel bad about criticizing another persons work when I have zero skill myself. I should also clarify that I'm talking about the skin being overexposed, not the whole image. And I find it to be especially bad in baby photos. But I'll postsome samples of what I mean tomorrow. Family duty calls at this particular moment.


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Ashura
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Mar 19, 2012 08:58 |  #6

Overexposing skin saves hours of Photoshop.


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Mar 19, 2012 10:25 |  #7

The best approach is to expose to the right so that the histogram hugs the right side but does not cause a peak of blow-outs. This will minimize noise in shadows. Once you have the shot, you can adjust the exposure as you wish in Lightroom, Aperture, or Photoshop.


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schlagle
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Mar 19, 2012 11:18 as a reply to  @ HughR's post |  #8

Ok, I think this page is a pretty good example of what I'm talking about for two reasons:
1. The first, fourth, and fifth images have overexposed skin, IMHO.
2. This page is actually trying to teach you how to take portrait shots.

http://www.digital-photography-school.com …o-take-stunning-portraits (external link)

I guess I should also say that I like the shots in my examples and most others I've seen. I'm just curious is this is a common trend.

Ashura: I think I know what you're saying. Over-exposing does seem to hide minor blemishes. My wife likes her shots slightly over exposed for that reason :-)


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Mar 19, 2012 12:04 |  #9

schlagle wrote in post #14113183 (external link)
Ashura: I think I know what you're saying. Over-exposing does seem to hide minor blemishes. My wife likes her shots slightly over exposed for that reason :-)

Pretty sure this is your answer. An extra 1/3 or 2/3 stop of exposure will do wonders for a girl's complexion.


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schlagle
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Mar 19, 2012 12:12 |  #10

nathancarter wrote in post #14113458 (external link)
Pretty sure this is your answer. An extra 1/3 or 2/3 stop of exposure will do wonders for a girl's complexion.

Thanks for the confirmation. I wasn't sure if this was really true or just my perception. I also wasn't sure why so many photos seem to be like this. Now I know.


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Mar 19, 2012 12:17 |  #11

nathancarter wrote in post #14113458 (external link)
Pretty sure this is your answer. An extra 1/3 or 2/3 stop of exposure will do wonders for a girl's complexion.

:lol: so true. :lol:

BTW, exposure with babies is relative, if you're not blowing any highlights, well, it ain't blown!:lol: The kind of tone curve you apply to the skin makes a big difference too, but all told, when I'm processing images of my girls, I will use a soft, low contrast tone curve on the skin and push the histogram to the right.


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Mar 19, 2012 21:28 |  #12

Scatterbrained wrote in post #14113542 (external link)
:lol: so true. :lol:

BTW, exposure with babies is relative, if you're not blowing any highlights, well, it ain't blown!:lol: The kind of tone curve you apply to the skin makes a big difference too, but all told, when I'm processing images of my girls, I will use a soft, low contrast tone curve on the skin and push the histogram to the right.

Right. I don't think any of these look overexposed. If you exposed less you would lose the detail in the darker sections of the photographs. But lighting skin in he higher end of the dynamic range is nothing new. Google "high-key photography".


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schlagle
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Mar 19, 2012 22:39 |  #13

kfreels wrote in post #14116489 (external link)
Right. I don't think any of these look overexposed. If you exposed less you would lose the detail in the darker sections of the photographs. But lighting skin in he higher end of the dynamic range is nothing new. Google "high-key photography".

Thanks for the tip. I found some good reads on the subject. I was having a hard time getting query results for the suggestion of "exposing to the right" but I think it's the same as "high-key". Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Its funny that the second article I read on high-key mentioned that it was mostly used for women and babies because that's basically what I had noticed.


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Mar 19, 2012 23:46 |  #14

schlagle wrote in post #14116975 (external link)
Thanks for the tip. I found some good reads on the subject. I was having a hard time getting query results for the suggestion of "exposing to the right" but I think it's the same as "high-key". Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Its funny that the second article I read on high-key mentioned that it was mostly used for women and babies because that's basically what I had noticed.

"Exposing to the right" is a bit different. In high key, you are reducing lighting ratios. You basically use fill light to bring the darkest areas of the subject up closer to the same level of the lighter areas generated by the key light so that there are little or no shadows or dark areas. It doesn't have much to do with exposure itself. It's about how you light the subject. A high key photo can be overexposed, exposed properly or underexposed but it will always be low contrast. Most of the time you will see it pushed to the right just beneath where the highlights would blow but technically it doesn't have to be since it is a lighting term and not an exposure term. An underexposed high key photo will just appear drab and flat.

A low key image will have a wide range of light and dark. It will have a lot of black with occasional bits of full white. The ratio can run as high as the dynamic range of the medium you are working in. Again, this is about how you light the subject and doesn't have anything to do with the exposure.

Exposing to the right on the other hand can be done with any image - high or low key. Here we're not talking about the ratio of lighting between the lightest or darkest but the actual exposure you choose. The idea here is to expose the sensor more than what the meter says is accurate but less than what it takes to push the highlights beyond the capability of the sensor to capture the detail. This is to capture the most data possible since sensors don't capture in an analog fashion. Then in post you would pull the exposure back to the proper level.

I'm sure there are those who can explain it better but that's the best I can do.


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Mar 20, 2012 00:01 |  #15

Hmm. When I first read the opening post, I thought he was asking about the lens flare BS that seems so popular...


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Is slightly overexposing the new black?
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