What's Better? A little overexposed or a little underexposed?

Started Oct 19, 2012 | Discussions thread
jbf Veteran Member • Posts: 3,544
Re: What's Better? A little overexposed or a little underexposed?

Spiranthes wrote:

I bracket my photos so that I can get that perfectly exposed shot. However, I often end up with one photo that's a little overexposed and another that's a little underexposed. Which of the two should I keep?

I know that I could keep both of them and merge them into one high definition photo. However, if I had to keep just one, which one should I keep?

My tendency is to keep the one that is slightly underexposed since the colors are more saturated and they appear to stand up better to post-shooting processing (Photoshop!). But is that really the case or am I deluding myself?

I'd appreciate the thoughts of photographers with more experience.


Given the scenario where you're ruling out combining them, most of the time I would keep the underexposed shot.  Of course it depends on the scene and what you're going for with the shot, but I find it's easier to pull details out of the shadows than it is to pull details out of overexposed highlights.  Also, for most scenes the viewer will not be as distracted by dark areas as they would be by blown out bright spots.  When you bump up the exposure in post processing you get more noise, but that can be dealt with to some degree as well.

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