Why Exposing to the Right (ETTR) is BAD!

Started Mar 30, 2013 | Discussions thread
Tan68 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,771
Re: Why Exposing to the Right (ETTR) is BAD!

Sovern wrote:

I didn't read any name calling.

There was an 'idiot' tossed in along the way.  A moderator removed that.  I would like to thank the mod for taking the extra time to review the thread rather than close it.  I think there are some good comments in here...  I don't even know what forum I am in.  I joined, uninvited, from the list of most active threads.

...This also makes your workflow easier as you don;t need to fiddle around and figure out what the correct exposure is since you overexposed using ETTR.

I read this to mean that with ETTR  you must later determine the correct exposure and make adjustments.  I agree with that; fiddling required.  I also read it to imply that not using ETTR relieves you of having to figure out the correct exposure later.  I am not sure I agree with that.  Not 100%.

Not using ETTR can relieve you of later having to make gross adjustments to exposure.  But relying on the camera meter doesn't always get you the best or correct exposure.  Metering systems have gotten really good, but there are times they will make the wrong choice for your scene.

Occasionally, you might read someone complaing that their camera always clips highlights or this brand is really good at protecting highlights.  Or, whatever.  It is all based on how the meter is set up in the camera.  They are all mostly the same, I think, but not exactly the same...

I mention this because you believe it is wrong to ETTR blindly, always, and without reason.  I agree.  But it is also wrong to blindly, always, and without reason believe the meter.  As a beginning point, the meter is great, but I wouldn't want a beginner to advance believing the meter is always right.  Part of the education is knowing when to walk away from the meter.

The light in your scene is represented by the histogram.  You can slide that histogram right or left depending upon the effect you want.  High key, low key, worried about noise, fitting in all the DR, whatever.  You control where you put the light on that histogram graph.  Where you put the light dictates what you do in post processing. Digital is so great.

It used to be expose for the shadows and then develop for the highlights.  Digital is a bit backwards in that it is expose for the highlights and develop for the shadows.  Either method may be more bother than a casual photographer cares to undertake.  Both are valid methods for the photo technician.  Some people drive a car and are happy with the shift points an automatic selects.  Others shift to keep the engine in the power band.  :^)   Both are driving a car and neither are 'wrong'.

I shot a paid event in NY on New Years where we had to print JPEG on location and we had to get it right in the camera....which I did succeed in.

Then ETTR would have been the wrong tool to use.

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