Why Exposing to the Right (ETTR) is BAD!

Started Mar 30, 2013 | Discussions thread
Tan68 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,741
Re: Why Exposing to the Right (ETTR) is BAD!

Sovern wrote:

... When shooting a portrait where the sky is involved wouldn't you agree that shooting to the right is bad as your neglecting the lighter details in the photo that are naturally bright such as clouds and the blue sky?

If you have properly ETTR'd, then the clouds and such aren't neglected.  It is easy to inadvertently neglect clouds and such with a poorly executed ETTR, yes.  No doubt.  So, I would not agree that someone using ETTR is neglecting lighter details.  They may love lighter details yet have a reason to ETTR (it is a tool).  I would agree that clipped highlights are a sign of poor technique.  An accident, even.  Tough love.

Since you mention flash...  In my previous post, I mentioned the lady standing in the field.  I recommended exposing toward the right to preserve detail in the lady's jacket.  Looks to me like you used flash on her face.

A better thing to do would have been to use a second flash to fill the jacket.  You control the contrast of the scene with the flashes.  You brighten the jacket with the flash and don't need to expose right to retain detail.  So, as I mentioned earlier, I don't think ETTR is as important where you can control contrast.

That said, for the lady in the field, I would have done something to preserve detail in the jacket...  My first thought was exposing toward the right and that is because I rarely use flashes.  Since you use flash, jacket detail could have been recorded that way.

At that point, the only other consideration is detail in the trees across the field.  Those being blocked aren't as noticeable as the jacket and might be something to not worry about.

I wouldn't ever try to use ETTR with JPG.  Blue sky really isn't that bright...  But, I follow what you mean.  You may have wanted a really low key picture with a dark jacket.  If this is so, then my recommendations are acedemic.

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