Why Exposing to the Right (ETTR) is BAD!

Started Mar 30, 2013 | Discussions thread
Sovern
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Re: Why Exposing to the Right (ETTR) is BAD!
In reply to apaflo, Mar 31, 2013

apaflo wrote:

Sovern wrote:

Sorry I'm more focused on the discussion of photography and ETTR than grammar.

That is very reasonable for articles posted to forums... but not for tutorials posted to a blog with the claim that it is instructional for beginners.

The problem with ETTR is that when you aim to expose to the right what if you screw up a candid photo due to aiming to shoot ETTR and you blew highlights in your new scene whereas if you stuck with exposing properly you wouldn't have blown anything out?

No system works if "you screw up".  ETTR is a complex system that targets the idea that, with knowledge and effort in the right circumstance, the results are very precise.

The ETTR method, as a system, is not arbitrary and can very easily produce results that are more accurate than any other system.  However, it requires complex knowledge and it of course only works in the right circumstances.

Acquiring the knowledge is not always possible, and part of that knowledge is knowing when to use ETTR and when not to.

Also, how would a photographer going about shooting/printing on location and having to shoot right the first time go about using ETTR??? It wouldn;t make any sense because clients would look at their just taken photo and ask you why it's so bright and you don't have the time to worry about not clipping or bringing down the exposure before printing.

Shooting "on location" 1) does not mean you have to get it right on the first shutter release, and 2) does not mean clients should be shown partially processed results.

Of course there are situations where those are valid concerns.  And ETTR would not necessarily be appropriate when that is so.  That does not make ETTR the wrong system to use when it is appropriate...

Also, how would you mix in ambient and strobes while using ETTR without clipping highlights (especially while using flash) as it would become way more difficult vs getting everything correct on the histogram and the back of the LCD

Eh?  Using ETTR is "getting everything correct on the histogram".  Doing it without clipping highlights is exactly the purpose!

as using ETTR you are bringing up thre ambient right to below clipping point meaning flash enters clipping terrority and trying to figure it all out would lead to nothing but headaches.

That is not true.  ETTR is not exclusive to ambient light as opposed to flash.  The resulting histogram shows data from flash as well as ambient...

I agree that ETTR does have it's place in controlled photography and controlled environments but overall I just stated my personal opinion of why for me ETTR is no good and makes no sense. I prefer consistency in my ability to expose without worrying about other factors.

There is no doubt whatever that ETTR makes no sense to you.  And without understanding how it works it certainly would not be a good system for you to use.

However, if you would like greater consistency than can be obtained in any other way, try learning how ETTR actually works, and apply it!  It simply amounts to a way to make the most use possible of the technology that is available with a digital camera.  It allows nailing exposure to within 1/10th of an fstop, and short of fudging your definition of "exposure" that cannot be done any other way.

Thanks for the response. I photograph a lot of models, if I showed the overexposed photos using the ETTR technique they would question my ability which could screw with the whole photoshoot.

Also, using ETTR getting a proper ambient and then dialing in your flash to your taste makes everything more complicated as most photographers that use strobes dial in their ambient to what looks good to them on the LCD/Histogram and then they dial in the flash.

You might have to dial in local exposure (on your subject or background) using ETTR making you have to do more PP work.

I agree that ETTR has it's spot and some might prefer it but like I said I do not prefer it.

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