Expose for shadows/highlights

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
peripheralfocus Veteran Member • Posts: 4,694
Re: another simple idea I should have mentioned

brandon77 wrote:

Most of the time, you can just use that recommended exposure. Technically, it will overexpose the shadow, but usually that's no problem. Still, if you're worried about it, you can reduce the exposure by one or two stops from what the meter recommends, and you'll still be fine. You will have "exposed for the shadows".

Do you mean if I’m shooting portra 400 then I rate it at 800?

Yes, if you change your ISO setting to 800 when the film is actually an ISO 400 film, that will cause the meter to recommend 1-stop less exposure.

But that's not how I would do it. I'd just choose a faster shutter speed or narrower aperture.

So let's say I walked up to my dark shadow, filled the viewfinder with it, then adjusted the camera so that the meter needle was at the 'zero' position -- i.e. adjusted the shutter speed and aperture to what the meter thinks are correct. That will render the shadow as a middle gray value (in other words, overexpose it). If the settings are, say, 1/500th at f/8, to reduce the exposure by one stop, I'd just change the shutter speed to 1/1000th. Or the f-stop to f/11.

For shot-to-shot corrections, I'd use shutter speed and aperture. If I had some reason to bias the exposure for a whole roll, then I'd set the ISO to an adjusted value.

(Note that with Portra 400, which I see you are using, you don't actually need to correct for the meter's tendency to overexpose the shadow you zoomed in on. You could just shoot at the meter's recommended exposure, and you'd be fine.)

Got it:) What if I just ignore the in camera meter altogether, and go and buy a handheld measure to use instead. Ir seems like this will make things much easier?

Yeah, for portraits where you have time and can direct the model, it's very simple and reliable to take an incident (as opposed to reflected) reading with a handheld meter. That's exactly what I have done with portraits for 30 years. I won't go into an explanation of what incident meter readings are, but you can google that.

That said, there's no reason at all why you can't use your K1000's built-in meter to get excellent exposures for portraits on negative film. It's not a very demanding scenario. (See my other comment on the scans you are using to judge your current technique.)

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