Why Exposing to the Right (ETTR) is BAD!

Started Mar 30, 2013 | Discussions thread
JulesJ Forum Pro • Posts: 45,283
Re: Why Exposing to the Right (ETTR) is BAD!

Barrie Davis wrote:

JulesJ wrote:

Sovern wrote:

I see a lot of new photographers learning about exposure and then quickly being told that they should use a method of exposure called Exposing to the Right (or rather, ETTL). I went into depth as to why in my opinion, ETTR is bad, and especially bad for new photographers that want to develop a consistent base for their ability to get correct exposure correctly the first time around with worrying about losing highlights.

Me personally, I believe in getting the exposure/shot correct the first time in the camera and exposing properly versus to the right as many benefits as shown in the article presented below.


This is also the beginning of articles that are aimed at enthusiast/beginning photographers that want to learn more and discuss various techniques, philosophies regarding what gear you need, lighting, and so on.

Thanks for viewing all the best.

That's a stupid article. His whole premise us based on your image being over exposed and he keeps using those two words. I was taught about shooting to the right by landscape photographer David Ward, and it made sense to me. One does not over expose. The type of image that you can use this method is any exposure whos histogram does not use up the whole width of your histogram space. IF it suits to the left of your graph with a space to tight right, then and only then should you re expose to move it to the right so that it dips down and to the right and exits as near as poss to th bottom right hand corner. Every band to the right on the histogram holds twice as much information as the le to the left. So it makes sense, if you have the choice and your histogram isn't initially using up the whole width, to move it to the right.


1) If there is NO free space to the right of the histogram into which ETTR can take place, it is still perfectly possible to increase the signal to noise ratio. It is done by simply exposing at a lower ISO....

-(and, incidentally, doesn't need any messing about afterwards in post processing)-

2) Indeed, the process of ETTR is, itself, only ever "exposing at a lower ISO," even when there IS free space to the right into which the histogram silhouette can be shifted, since the ONLY way to shift that histogram is to use a longer shutter speed or wider aperture...(lower effective ISO)

3) Because of this, photography might as well ALWAYS be done at the lowest (practical) ISO, and this be used as a routine mechanism for reducing image noise....(the stated aim of ETTR)...

-(BTW, it IS what I do, as a matter of course and without having to think about it)-

4)... and nobody need bother themselves with this "Exposing to the Right" nonsense ever again!

-- hide signature --

"Ahh... But the thing is, these guys were no ORDINARY time travellers!"

I absolutely agree, in fact David Ward also taught us to shoot at native ISO (usually 100) whenever possible. But still doing that Shhoting to the Right might still be possible depending on the circumstances and use of f stop and shutter speed. It's not rocket science. It had just been obvious to me until it was brought to my attention. I don't do it religiously now, but I do keep it in mind.

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