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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 11 Aug 2014 (Monday) 19:31
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Exposing to the middle

 
wiztek
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Aug 11, 2014 19:31 |  #1

I have found lately that I often over expose a lot of my shots. Ie, I tend to purposely expose to the right. I find, in camera, that this brings out skin tones and highlights expression. Without compensating left or right, I often find that the skin tones seem to be grey and dull. As a result, I often get blown out highlights whether they are in the background or in certain parts of the subject. As a result, I run in to a lot of problem in post.

I have been looking at some post processing before and after shots, and I often find that the skin tones on the before shots very much emulate the grey/dull tones that I try to avoid by exposing to the right. After processing, they seem to look perfect.

I shoot everything in raw, and enjoy post processing. I’ve yet to experiment on ‘exposing to the middle’, but is this the right exposure approach? Should I allow for grey tones SOOC (‘correctly exposed’) and edit the overall image/tones in post?




  
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Wilt
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Aug 11, 2014 21:20 |  #2

The reflected light meter tries to take whatever it sees, and render it 18% grey!
Memorize this point by repeating it 100 times.

That is why the suggested exposure, when pointed at a face, renders the face greyish instead of it being about 1EV brighter than an 18% grey card. And that is why the EC control is in your camera, to use when you are in one of the automatic modes (P, Av, Tv).

ETTR is a technique which allows you to:


  1. preserve details in the highlights, while also
  2. allocating more digital levels to capture better shadow details

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PhotosGuy
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Aug 12, 2014 08:42 |  #3

wiztek wrote in post #17090064 (external link)
I tend to purposely expose to the right. ... As a result, I often get blown out highlights whether they are in the background or in certain parts of the subject.

I try to keep the highlights that are important to the image with this: Need an exposure crutch?
Try variations on it & see how it works for you.


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yogestee
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Aug 12, 2014 23:43 |  #4

Wilt wrote in post #17090238 (external link)
The reflected light meter tries to take whatever it sees, and render it 18% grey!
Memorize this point by repeating it 100 times.

That is why the suggested exposure, when pointed at a face, renders the face greyish instead of it being about 1EV brighter than an 18% grey card. And that is why the EC control is in your camera, to use when you are in one of the automatic modes (P, Av, Tv).

Your bolded statement must never be forgotten.

The statement I bolded only holds true for northern European skin tones. There is a huge range of diversity in skin tones.

This pic was a quick grab shot before the guy disappeared, taken using evaluative metering. Compensation at 0EV. Luckily the bright back ground and the man's dark skin balanced out to give me a good exposure. In effect just the man's face would read something like -1.5EV. I still have detail in the bright back ground and dark shirt. We get lucky sometimes.

Images like this can challenge the camera's dynamic range.


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Wilt
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Aug 13, 2014 09:13 |  #5

yogestee wrote in post #17092667 (external link)
Your bolded statement must never be forgotten.

The statement I bolded only holds true for northern European skin tones. There is a huge range of diversity in skin tones.

If you point a spotmeter at very dark skin of the example OR the light skin of an Irish lass or a Nordic lady, EACH will be rendered GREY!

Spotmeter the midtone...

IMAGE: http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/Principles/metermid_zpsefe9ca14.jpg

Spotmeter the black zone...
IMAGE: http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/Principles/Meterblack_zps4409c358.jpg

Spotmeter the white zone...
IMAGE: http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i63/wiltonw/Principles/Meterwhite_zps7d8c36ea.jpg

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yogestee
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Aug 13, 2014 11:23 |  #6

Wilt wrote in post #17093230 (external link)
If you point a spotmeter at very dark skin of the example OR the light skin of an Irish lass or a Nordic lady, EACH will be rendered GREY!

Spotmeter the midtone...
QUOTED IMAGE

Spotmeter the black zone...
QUOTED IMAGE

Spotmeter the white zone...
QUOTED IMAGE

True,, I wasn't debating this and maybe I could have made my point clearer. But and a big but, the dark skinned Bangladeshi could be over exposed without exposure compensation compared to a Nordic lady.

In effect a Nordic skin tone will give you a higher EV than a dark skinned Bangladeshi when metered with a reflectance meter. To get a truer value I'd suggest an incident reading.


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chauncey
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Aug 15, 2014 07:59 as a reply to  @ yogestee's post |  #7

I have found lately that I often over expose a lot of my shots. Ie, I tend to purposely expose to the right

I guess I'm having difficulty in understanding how you can properly ETTR and have blown out highlights.

Using that live view screen with the histogram exposed gives an iron clad method of proper exposure provided
you adjust your picture style settings to neutral...because that LV image is a jpeg rendition of your image.
Simply input your desired f/stop, SS, and ISO>activate the LV Mode>alter any of the settings to push that histogram to the right or left. ;)


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RMH
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Aug 15, 2014 11:45 |  #8

^^ because you're trying to expose for a face not the whole scene.

You can have a perfect looking histogram, but there's no way to know if the pixels that make up someones face are at one end or the other, or in the middle, and depending on their skin colour those pixels should be at one end or the other, or in the middle...

For portraits i'd say the histogram is near useless.



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chauncey
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Aug 18, 2014 08:45 as a reply to  @ RMH's post |  #9

You can have a perfect looking histogram, but there's no way to know if the pixels that make up someones face are at one end or the other, or in the middle, and depending on their skin colour those pixels should be at one end or the other, or in the middle...

That's true enough, but...that's why we use post production. If the highlights are there, so is everything else. ;)


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Exposing to the middle
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