:: The visual notepad ::

“ Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop – Ansel Adams

‘Expose to the Right’: Do you follow this rule?


Window and shadow on a wall with bicycle - ©Silvia Ganora Photography

I love contrasty images like the one I shot today in my hometown. I have a sweet spot for deep, definite shadows. In such cases, I always expose manually and underexpose to preserve highlight details.

Later in the day, I came across an online article I recommend you’d read, as it states pretty much what I’m thinking on this matter myself. Basically, what it says is:

  • The old saying that wants you to expose to the limit of the right side of your histogram (so not to clip the highlights) is useless with modern DSLRs, which have much better sensors, thus less noise in the shadows.
  • With contrasty  subjects, you’ll be better off staying well away from that right side. By doing so, you’ll keep details in the highlights and you’ll be able to rescue shadow details despite of noise. You can always manage noise using a noise reduction plug in.

I must say I’ve never applied the ‘expose to the right’ rule. I really hate having blown highlights in my images much more than having some noise in the shadows.  If you convert your shots to black and white, some noise is even welcome. I sometimes add it digitally on purpose.

What’s your personal approach?

Meanwhile here is the link to the article .


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This entry was posted on February 15, 2012 by in Photography, Visual scribbles and tagged , , , , .

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