Expose for shadows/highlights

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
OP brandon77 Regular Member • Posts: 254
Re: Expose for shadows/highlights

Bags27 wrote:

Shooting B&W film is the exact opposite of shooting digital. In digital, it's easy to recover the shadows, but highlights, once blown, are usually lost. In film, pullin details out of the shadows is the challenge.

The easiest way to think about this with B&W film is to expose 1 stop over, to make sure shadows get all the light they need, and then cut development time by ~10% (experience will tell you, depending on film, developer, contrast in the original photos, and your taste) in order to make sure the highlights stay under control.

It goes back to the zone system in which you meter the shadows, and the meter automatically places the shadows in zone V (18% grey). But then highlights could get lost, and you want your shadows in zone III. So, overexpose by 2 stops (moving shadows from zone V to zone III) and develop normally. But film today has more latitude and what I wrote above is really all we need to do.

With color negative film, shoot box speed. But play around with over and under since, depending on the film, it can give you different, and pleasing to you, aesthetics. A lot of people like to overexpose color film by a stop or even more.

Thanks. I tried overexposing and my subject got blown out. The rest of the scene was fine. At box speed I didn’t get the look I was after, as I like lower contrast. I use portra 400

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