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Exposing to the right
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Nov 10, 2018 11:15:25   #
gunflint Loc: Rocky Mountain High, Colorado
 
For my daytime exposures I have been attempting to always expose to the right and watching the histogram as to not clip any whites or blacks. It does seem to help with the dynamic range.

My question is (and I will do some tests myself) does this "rule" apply for night photography such as city lights after dark? Any tips from those with experience at this is appreciated!

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Nov 10, 2018 11:29:27   #
BassmanBruce Loc: Middle of the Mitten
 
In my experience, yes. Shots of lights, moonlit whatever I always expose slightly into the blinkies.

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Nov 10, 2018 11:35:38   #
Ched49 Loc: Pittsburgh, Pa.
 
It could help a little in low light, in daylight, I always shoot 2 or 3 stops in the minus side, colors come out a little richer.

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Nov 10, 2018 11:35:48   #
AndyH Loc: Massachusetts and New Hampshire
 
I haven’t tried it much, but yes. Those highlights are almost always a problem, and keeping them out of the blinky zone gives you more data to work with.

Andy

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Nov 10, 2018 11:43:28   #
BebuLamar
 
It's good for night pictures as well provided that you use base ISO.

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Nov 10, 2018 11:57:34   #
gunflint Loc: Rocky Mountain High, Colorado
 
I should have mentioned that I shoot in RAW if that makes a difference...

Thanks

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Nov 10, 2018 12:00:20   #
BebuLamar
 
gunflint wrote:
I should have mentioned that I shoot in RAW if that makes a difference...

Thanks


You must shoot RAW to do expose to the right any way.

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Nov 10, 2018 12:00:37   #
AndyH Loc: Massachusetts and New Hampshire
 
gunflint wrote:
I should have mentioned that I shoot in RAW if that makes a difference...

Thanks


Even more important. You’ll have more data.

Andy

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Nov 10, 2018 12:09:13   #
Linda From Maine Loc: Yakima, Washington State, home since 2002
 
BebuLamar wrote:
You must shoot RAW to do expose to the right any way.
That seems to be the key point to the whole exercise.

From https://digital-photography-school.com/exposing-to-the-right/:
The resulting file, when processed back to the correct exposure, will contain more tonal information and less noise in the shadow areas, maximising your image quality.

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Nov 10, 2018 12:10:52   #
gunflint Loc: Rocky Mountain High, Colorado
 
Thanks for all the great info everyone!

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Nov 10, 2018 12:21:23   #
AndyH Loc: Massachusetts and New Hampshire
 
Depending on your PP software, I think you can still benefit from exposing to the right even with JPEGs, as long as you have exposure and contrast sliders, no?

I shoot RAW, but I don’t see any reason why you wouldn’t want to have more data than less.

Andy

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Nov 10, 2018 13:07:39   #
BebuLamar
 
AndyH wrote:
Depending on your PP software, I think you can still benefit from exposing to the right even with JPEGs, as long as you have exposure and contrast sliders, no?

I shoot RAW, but I don’t see any reason why you wouldn’t want to have more data than less.

Andy


My guess because I don't know the JPEG compression algorithm but I think as follows.
As part of the JPEG compression it throws away details in area that is too dark or too bright for the eyes to see. In doing so the image would look fine as is but when you lighten or darken the image as requires in the ETTR process you can't reveal the details that has been thrown out.

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Nov 10, 2018 13:18:36   #
AndyH Loc: Massachusetts and New Hampshire
 
BebuLamar wrote:
My guess because I don't know the JPEG compression algorithm but I think as follows.
As part of the JPEG compression it throws away details in area that is too dark or too bright for the eyes to see. In doing so the image would look fine as is but when you lighten or darken the image as requires in the ETTR process you can't reveal the details that has been thrown out.


That’s true, and a great reason to shoot RAW, but if you’re going to lose details, it seems the highlights would be more important to preserve. I’m looking forward to hearing from one of our very high tech people.

Andy

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Nov 10, 2018 15:15:15   #
TriX Loc: Raleigh, NC
 
gunflint wrote:
For my daytime exposures I have been attempting to always expose to the right and watching the histogram as to not clip any whites or blacks. It does seem to help with the dynamic range.

My question is (and I will do some tests myself) does this "rule" apply for night photography such as city lights after dark? Any tips from those with experience at this is appreciated!


Just one comment in addition to the need to shoot raw. Your histogram is derived from a JPEG unless you’re running Magic Lantern with a Canon body (which provides a raw histogram), so the right side is likely a stop or more below the actual max ETTR where you actually derive the benefit. You’ll need to do some testing to determine where the actual max exposure is before blowing highlights for your particular camera. You have several tools: you can use the histogram after the shot of the “blinkies” prior to the exposure. You might read Scotty’s (selmslie) recent posts ( https://www.uglyhedgehog.com/t-563340-1.html )on Sony and Nikon bodies showing how much beyond the point at which blinkies show up you can go before blowing highlights, but 1 stop (dialed into EC) might be a good starting point.

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Nov 10, 2018 16:29:04   #
via the lens Loc: Northern California, near Yosemite NP
 
gunflint wrote:
For my daytime exposures I have been attempting to always expose to the right and watching the histogram as to not clip any whites or blacks. It does seem to help with the dynamic range.

My question is (and I will do some tests myself) does this "rule" apply for night photography such as city lights after dark? Any tips from those with experience at this is appreciated!


One of the benefits of exposing to the right is noise reduction in all areas but especially those in the shadow areas. Nightime is all shadows.

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