Expose for shadows/highlights

Started 4 months ago | Discussions
tassienick Senior Member • Posts: 1,546
Re: gray cards and incident readings

Overrank wrote:

tassienick wrote:

Autonerd wrote:

brandon77 wrote:

From watching videos and the majority of the comments, Getting a reading off the subject with a handheld meter, and likely in the shadow area seems the best way to do it.

Wellll, with an incident meter, "metering for the shadows" doesn't matter.

What do you mean by this?

The concept of ‘metering for the shadows’ (ie. to preserve shadow detail and take advantage of colour neg’s highlight latitude) is equally relevant for incident and reflective meters.

I use an incident meter for probably 90% of my work, and almost always use it to meter for the shadows (if the shadows are relevant for the composition).

For me the parenthetical part is the key, IF the shadows are relevant. I try and hide things in the shadows that I don’t want in the final image, so metering for the subject tends to give me the right setting.

Certainly. I’m not for a moment suggesting that metering for the shadows is always appropriate.

I was just puzzled by the comment that it doesn’t matter when using an incident meter.

That is one reason I find the digital infatuation with ETTR rather strange, because (to my way of thinking), I don’t care about noise in the shadows because I don’t want to see them anyway.

Svein Eriksen Senior Member • Posts: 2,249
Re: gray cards and incident readings
1

Overrank wrote:

….

That is one reason I find the digital infatuation with ETTR rather strange, because (to my way of thinking), I don’t care about noise in the shadows because I don’t want to see them anyway.

ETTR with digital (done correctly) give you the best possible data for post processing and not only in the shadows. If you're not post processing then ETTR is pointless and will in many cases give unusable images (until you post process).

Overrank Senior Member • Posts: 2,728
Re: gray cards and incident readings

Svein Eriksen wrote:

Overrank wrote:

….

That is one reason I find the digital infatuation with ETTR rather strange, because (to my way of thinking), I don’t care about noise in the shadows because I don’t want to see them anyway.

ETTR with digital (done correctly) give you the best possible data for post processing and not only in the shadows. If you're not post processing then ETTR is pointless and will in many cases give unusable images (until you post process).

Yes, one of the reasons I use film is because I dislike post processing, so the idea of something where I have to post process before I can even see a usable image is an anathema.

Svein Eriksen Senior Member • Posts: 2,249
Re: gray cards and incident readings

Overrank wrote:

Svein Eriksen wrote:

Overrank wrote:

….

That is one reason I find the digital infatuation with ETTR rather strange, because (to my way of thinking), I don’t care about noise in the shadows because I don’t want to see them anyway.

ETTR with digital (done correctly) give you the best possible data for post processing and not only in the shadows. If you're not post processing then ETTR is pointless and will in many cases give unusable images (until you post process).

Yes, one of the reasons I use film is because I dislike post processing, so the idea of something where I have to post process before I can even see a usable image is an anathema.

I can understand that you want to avoid post processing, but to me digital requires less post processing. With film I have to develop and enlarge if I want a complete analog process or develop and scan if I want an analog/digital process.

I can of course avoid most of it by ordering development and prints or scans from a store, but then I have to settle for whatever the store/lab do.

Just curious - do you not develop or scan at all?

Overrank Senior Member • Posts: 2,728
Re: gray cards and incident readings
1

Svein Eriksen wrote:

Overrank wrote:

Svein Eriksen wrote:

Overrank wrote:

….

That is one reason I find the digital infatuation with ETTR rather strange, because (to my way of thinking), I don’t care about noise in the shadows because I don’t want to see them anyway.

ETTR with digital (done correctly) give you the best possible data for post processing and not only in the shadows. If you're not post processing then ETTR is pointless and will in many cases give unusable images (until you post process).

Yes, one of the reasons I use film is because I dislike post processing, so the idea of something where I have to post process before I can even see a usable image is an anathema.

I can understand that you want to avoid post processing, but to me digital requires less post processing. With film I have to develop and enlarge if I want a complete analog process or develop and scan if I want an analog/digital process.

I can of course avoid most of it by ordering development and prints or scans from a store, but then I have to settle for whatever the store/lab do.

Just curious - do you not develop or scan at all?

I find SOOC digital files very flat that need adjusting - a good example for me was some comparisons I’ve made between the Nikon D610 and E100 ( https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4570371 ). The D610 image was auto adjusted in ACR, the E100 straight out of scanner

I don’t develop but I do my own scanning. I mostly shoot colour (negative and slide) so I can’t really see the point of developing as the process is pretty standardised. My workflow is to scan to jpg and that’s about it. I make any corrections at the time of the scan. The only reason I edit the images afterwards is for occasional spotting and to resize them. I’m trying to move more towards just slides because E100 is so nice, but the price is a bit of a issue there.

peripheralfocus Veteran Member • Posts: 4,725
metering vs. exposing for the shadows
4

tassienick wrote:

What do you mean by this?

The concept of ‘metering for the shadows’ (ie. to preserve shadow detail and take advantage of colour neg’s highlight latitude) is equally relevant for incident and reflective meters.

I use an incident meter for probably 90% of my work, and almost always use it to meter for the shadows (if the shadows are relevant for the composition).

I wonder if making a distinction between metering for the shadows and exposing for the shadows might clear this up.

I think Autonerd is thinking of the phrase 'metering for the shadows' in the context of pointing the reflected meter at a shadow, taking that reading, and then deciding how much to adjust the exposure that the meter recommended. This is the classic scenario for Zone system folks using spot meters. He's right that it does not apply to incident readings at subject position with a handheld meter.

But the last step -- the adjustment from  the meter's recommendation -- is actually about exposing for the shadows, not metering them.

If you are taking incident readings at subject position, you're not metering a shadow, but if you decide to deviate from the meter's recommendation by adding a stop or two of exposure to make sure you are getting enough light onto the darker parts of your scene, then you are exposing for the shadows. You didn't meter a shadow, but you did expose for it.

On the other hand, if what you do is take incident readings not from the subject position, but from spots in your scene that lie in shadow areas, then you'd be doing an incident meter reading for the shadows. Studio photographers, of course, do this all the time when they use an incident meter to measure the light at various spots within their scene, typically to determine lighting ratios. In that scenario, however, they almost always expose for the subject, and adjust their lights to create shadows that are in a specific relationship to the subject brightness.

peripheralfocus Veteran Member • Posts: 4,725
just reiterating that scans are lying to you
1

brandon77 wrote:

From watching videos and the majority of the comments, Getting a reading off the subject with a handheld meter, and likely in the shadow area seems the best way to do it.

It's an excellent way to meter for portraits. I would always use it, if possible (i.e. I have one of my handheld meters with me and the subject is cooperative).

I’m going to try that anyway ignoring the metering my camera, I haven’t had a lot of luck with that

Honestly, I doubt it's you or your camera, if the example you posted is typical of your shooting. What you're having is bad scanning. As I said before, if you're not looking at your negatives, you're not seeing what you and your camera actually did. Don't go down a rabbit hole based on inconsistent or poor scanning. Find a different lab, or start doing your own scanning.

Where your K1000's meter could fail with Portra 400 is in backlit situations, or in scenes where your subject is in shadow, but the rest of the scene is not (really just a variation on the backlit scenario). Those are easy to deal with; just walk up to your subject and make sure your K1000 can't see the highlights in the background, set your exposure, then back up and take the shot.

Just noting again: all of the above comments apply if your camera is working properly. If your meter is bad, or your shutter is malfunctioning, then all bets are off.

Autonerd Senior Member • Posts: 2,142
Re: gray cards and incident readings

tassienick wrote:

Wellll, with an incident meter, "metering for the shadows" doesn't matter.

What do you mean by this?

The concept of ‘metering for the shadows’ (ie. to preserve shadow detail and take advantage of colour neg’s highlight latitude) is equally relevant for incident and reflective meters.

I use an incident meter for probably 90% of my work, and almost always use it to meter for the shadows (if the shadows are relevant for the composition).

Im not sure if I’ve missed your point?

It's very possible I'm wrong, as I'm still learning my incident metering, but aren't you just looking at light falling on the overall scene? If the subject you're metering is in the shadows, that's where the meter is, and you're looking at the light falling on that subject. If I'm shooting, say, a small building on a bright day, I'll meter for the light hitting the building, as opposed to putting the meter under the eaves and taking the reading there -- unless the area under the eaves is the subject of my photo.

Edit: To clarify, I was also thinking of the shot the OP posted -- in a scenario like this, I wouldn't be metering in the shadows; I'd be holding the incident meter in front of his model's body to get the light falling on him.

Aaron

-- hide signature --
Overrank Senior Member • Posts: 2,728
Re: gray cards and incident readings
1

Autonerd wrote:

tassienick wrote:

Wellll, with an incident meter, "metering for the shadows" doesn't matter.

What do you mean by this?

The concept of ‘metering for the shadows’ (ie. to preserve shadow detail and take advantage of colour neg’s highlight latitude) is equally relevant for incident and reflective meters.

I use an incident meter for probably 90% of my work, and almost always use it to meter for the shadows (if the shadows are relevant for the composition).

Im not sure if I’ve missed your point?

It's very possible I'm wrong, as I'm still learning my incident metering, but aren't you just looking at light falling on the overall scene? If the subject you're metering is in the shadows, that's where the meter is, and you're looking at the light falling on that subject. If I'm shooting, say, a small building on a bright day, I'll meter for the light hitting the building, as opposed to putting the meter under the eaves and taking the reading there -- unless the area under the eaves is the subject of my photo.

Edit: To clarify, I was also thinking of the shot the OP posted -- in a scenario like this, I wouldn't be metering in the shadows; I'd be holding the incident meter in front of his model's body to get the light falling on him.

Aaron

You just need to put the incident meter in the light that the subject is in (dome pointing back to the camera).

So if I’m taking a picture of a ten acre field with a hedge at the back, the sun is behind me, the field in front of me, and my subject is the field, then I can hold the incident meter in front of me at arms length and take a reading (with the dome pointing to me) and it’ll be OK.  But if my subject was in the shadows under the hedge I’d have to walk across the field and take a meter reading under the hedge.  (Or more likely I’d take a meter reading at arms length and add three stops )

In the shot posted you’d just hold the meter in front of the model and point the dome back to where the camera will be.

OP brandon77 Regular Member • Posts: 254
Re: gray cards and incident readings

Thanks for the advice. So helpful! If I decided I wanted to use on camera flash I’m thinking I wouldn’t meter?

OP brandon77 Regular Member • Posts: 254
Re: gray cards and incident readings

Overrank wrote:

Autonerd wrote:

tassienick wrote:

Wellll, with an incident meter, "metering for the shadows" doesn't matter.

What do you mean by this?

The concept of ‘metering for the shadows’ (ie. to preserve shadow detail and take advantage of colour neg’s highlight latitude) is equally relevant for incident and reflective meters.

I use an incident meter for probably 90% of my work, and almost always use it to meter for the shadows (if the shadows are relevant for the composition).

Im not sure if I’ve missed your point?

It's very possible I'm wrong, as I'm still learning my incident metering, but aren't you just looking at light falling on the overall scene? If the subject you're metering is in the shadows, that's where the meter is, and you're looking at the light falling on that subject. If I'm shooting, say, a small building on a bright day, I'll meter for the light hitting the building, as opposed to putting the meter under the eaves and taking the reading there -- unless the area under the eaves is the subject of my photo.

Edit: To clarify, I was also thinking of the shot the OP posted -- in a scenario like this, I wouldn't be metering in the shadows; I'd be holding the incident meter in front of his model's body to get the light falling on him.

Aaron

You just need to put the incident meter in the light that the subject is in (dome pointing back to the camera).

So if I’m taking a picture of a ten acre field with a hedge at the back, the sun is behind me, the field in front of me, and my subject is the field, then I can hold the incident meter in front of me at arms length and take a reading (with the dome pointing to me) and it’ll be OK. But if my subject was in the shadows under the hedge I’d have to walk across the field and take a meter reading under the hedge. (Or more likely I’d take a meter reading at arms length and add three stops )

In the shot posted you’d just hold the meter in front of the model and point the dome back to where the camera will be.

This is a little different than the other people say expose in the shadows, not whole subject. The shadows seemed to make more sense, as if it’s in front of the person and there are highlights they will likely also increase

Overrank Senior Member • Posts: 2,728
Re: gray cards and incident readings
1

brandon77 wrote:

Overrank wrote:

You just need to put the incident meter in the light that the subject is in (dome pointing back to the camera).

So if I’m taking a picture of a ten acre field with a hedge at the back, the sun is behind me, the field in front of me, and my subject is the field, then I can hold the incident meter in front of me at arms length and take a reading (with the dome pointing to me) and it’ll be OK. But if my subject was in the shadows under the hedge I’d have to walk across the field and take a meter reading under the hedge. (Or more likely I’d take a meter reading at arms length and add three stops )

In the shot posted you’d just hold the meter in front of the model and point the dome back to where the camera will be.

This is a little different than the other people say expose in the shadows, not whole subject. The shadows seemed to make more sense, as if it’s in front of the person and there are highlights they will likely also increase

if the shadows are the subject then you would expose for the shadows.  If the shadows aren’t the subject then expose for the subject.

SrMi
SrMi Senior Member • Posts: 2,206
Re: gray cards and incident readings

Overrank wrote:

Svein Eriksen wrote:

Overrank wrote:

….

That is one reason I find the digital infatuation with ETTR rather strange, because (to my way of thinking), I don’t care about noise in the shadows because I don’t want to see them anyway.

ETTR with digital (done correctly) give you the best possible data for post processing and not only in the shadows. If you're not post processing then ETTR is pointless and will in many cases give unusable images (until you post process).

Yes, one of the reasons I use film is because I dislike post processing, so the idea of something where I have to post process before I can even see a usable image is an anathema.

ETTR is relevant only for RAW files. If you dislike post-processing, you shoot JPG.

SOOC negative film is always very dark ;-).

Autonerd Senior Member • Posts: 2,142
Re: gray cards and incident readings
1

brandon77 wrote:

Thanks for the advice. So helpful! If I decided I wanted to use on camera flash I’m thinking I wouldn’t meter?

Flash will change things a bit. Gosh, it's been y-e-e-e-e-e-a-r-s since I used one, but IIRC... You'll need to set the aperture for the distance-to-subject (there will be a table printed on the back of the flash that will show you), shutter speed to correspond to that aperture for a proper exposure (and it must be 1/60 or slower to ensure sync). Biggest concern is aperture for proper distance-to-subject; the rest only matters if the background is important to you.

One o' these days I'll get back to a little flash photography. For a while I was really into one second exposures with flash, like this one and this one .

Aaron

-- hide signature --
Autonerd Senior Member • Posts: 2,142
Re: gray cards and incident readings

Overrank wrote:

This is a little different than the other people say expose in the shadows, not whole subject. The shadows seemed to make more sense, as if it’s in front of the person and there are highlights they will likely also increase

if the shadows are the subject then you would expose for the shadows. If the shadows aren’t the subject then expose for the subject.

Yes, Brandon, exactly what Overrank said -- particularly if you are not doing your own developing and/or scanning.

The one reason you might expose for something other than the overall light hitting your scene is if you were doing your own developing/printing. You might intentionally over-expose a little (i.e. for the shadows), develop normally, then go short on the time for printing and burn in some of that shadow detail by giving them more exposure to light. And by the way, in color printing that's a *huge* pain in the butt since you need to work in the dark.

So yes, I'd do what Overrank says -- expose for your subject, be it in light or in shadow.

Aaron

-- hide signature --
Overrank Senior Member • Posts: 2,728
Re: gray cards and incident readings

SrMi wrote:

Overrank wrote:

Svein Eriksen wrote:

Overrank wrote:

….

That is one reason I find the digital infatuation with ETTR rather strange, because (to my way of thinking), I don’t care about noise in the shadows because I don’t want to see them anyway.

ETTR with digital (done correctly) give you the best possible data for post processing and not only in the shadows. If you're not post processing then ETTR is pointless and will in many cases give unusable images (until you post process).

Yes, one of the reasons I use film is because I dislike post processing, so the idea of something where I have to post process before I can even see a usable image is an anathema.

ETTR is relevant only for RAW files. If you dislike post-processing, you shoot JPG.

SOOC negative film is always very dark ;-).

On digital I nearly always shoot JPG+RAW, as I can normally pull something back out of the RAW file if the exposure is off e.g. flash didn’t fire. But I find now I mostly use digital to photograph film cameras I’m selling, or the packaging if I need to put in a claim with the post office etc, so exposure in general is less of an issue.

Horiz Opposed
Horiz Opposed Contributing Member • Posts: 574
Re: Expose for shadows-dev for highlights

Meter will give average reflective reading of scene. Shadow areas are darker, so can open 1-2 stops for added detail. Then develop for how much detail you want in the highlights, which usually will mean some under development if you have added exposure during capture, and want to avoid having the highlights block up. The dynamic range of your scene will be the jumping off point for decisions about how much adjustment you need.

Ideally you want to shoot and develop a roll or two, testing and making notes about what you did. This is a learning process and too complicated for a in depth explanation here. There are volumes written about this subject. Don’t try to learn it all at once.

-- hide signature --

Ross Attix

Overrank Senior Member • Posts: 2,728
Re: Expose for shadows-dev for highlights

ross attix wrote:

Meter will give average reflective reading of scene. Shadow areas are darker, so can open 1-2 stops for added detail. Then develop for how much detail you want in the highlights, which usually will mean some under development if you have added exposure during capture, and want to avoid having the highlights block up. The dynamic range of your scene will be the jumping off point for decisions about how much adjustment you need.

Ideally you want to shoot and develop a roll or two, testing and making notes about what you did. This is a learning process and too complicated for a in depth explanation here. There are volumes written about this subject. Don’t try to learn it all at once.

As far as I’m aware the changes in development are only for black and white - C41 / E6 are standardised processes ?

Horiz Opposed
Horiz Opposed Contributing Member • Posts: 574
Re: Expose for shadows-dev for highlights

Overrank wrote:

ross attix wrote:

Meter will give average reflective reading of scene. Shadow areas are darker, so can open 1-2 stops for added detail. Then develop for how much detail you want in the highlights, which usually will mean some under development if you have added exposure during capture, and want to avoid having the highlights block up. The dynamic range of your scene will be the jumping off point for decisions about how much adjustment you need.

Ideally you want to shoot and develop a roll or two, testing and making notes about what you did. This is a learning process and too complicated for a in depth explanation here. There are volumes written about this subject. Don’t try to learn it all at once.

As far as I’m aware the changes in development are only for black and white - C41 / E6 are standardised processes ?

I should have been more specific that my comments were regarding b/w negative film. I think you are right about C-41. E-6 times can definitely be extended or reduced, I’ve done it plenty of times, but E-6 is reversal film so the highlights are the thinnest part of the film vs them being the densest part of negative film.

-- hide signature --

Ross Attix

Autonerd Senior Member • Posts: 2,142
Re: Expose for shadows-dev for highlights

Overrank wrote:

As far as I’m aware the changes in development are only for black and white - C41 / E6 are standardised processes ?

You can get color pushed (or do it yourself), but I don't believe it's as common as with B&W.

-- hide signature --
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads