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Which is better; too light or too dark?

 
 
Peter Jason
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      03-06-2007
Is it better for a photo to be too light or
too dark for subsequent retouching in
Photoshop?



 
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John Loomis
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      03-06-2007
I like it a bit darker....It seems you can pull out the color or whatever
than if it is too light.
I am just an amateur and have been able to get great quality images from
darker shots than lighter....
John Loomis
"Peter Jason" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:esilev$mvc$(E-Mail Removed)...
> Is it better for a photo to be too light or too dark for subsequent
> retouching in Photoshop?
>
>
>



 
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ray
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      03-06-2007
On Tue, 06 Mar 2007 13:59:23 +1100, Peter Jason wrote:

> Is it better for a photo to be too light or
> too dark for subsequent retouching in
> Photoshop?


No.

 
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MarkČ
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      03-06-2007
Peter Jason wrote:
> Is it better for a photo to be too light or
> too dark for subsequent retouching in
> Photoshop?


If highlights are blown, there's little you can do.
Shadows can be pushed.

An acknowledgement of this fact is evident in the design of the new 1Dmk3
has a new highlight priority mode...which exposes to ensure highlights are
not blown out. They do this operating on the assumption (and in this case,
a good one) that there is plenty of shadow detail for recovery.


You're always going to benefit from getting it right in-camera, but in high
contrast scenes, you're usually smart to expose for the highlights, and to
shoot in RAW.

MarkČ

Images (Plus Snaps & Grabs) by MarkČ at:
www.pbase.com/markuson


 
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Peter Jason
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      03-06-2007

"MarkČ" <mjmorgan(lowest even number
here)@cox..net> wrote in message
news:tJ5Hh.18870$(E-Mail Removed)...
> Peter Jason wrote:
>> Is it better for a photo to be too light
>> or
>> too dark for subsequent retouching in
>> Photoshop?

>
> If highlights are blown, there's little you
> can do.
> Shadows can be pushed.
>
> An acknowledgement of this fact is evident
> in the design of the new 1Dmk3 has a new
> highlight priority mode...which exposes to
> ensure highlights are not blown out. They
> do this operating on the assumption (and in
> this case, a good one) that there is plenty
> of shadow detail for recovery.
>
>
> You're always going to benefit from getting
> it right in-camera, but in high contrast
> scenes, you're usually smart to expose for
> the highlights, and to shoot in RAW.
>
> MarkČ
>
> Images (Plus Snaps & Grabs) by MarkČ at:
> www.pbase.com/markuson



Thanks for the replies. I photograph
buildings and alleyways and there is always
great contrast between the towers and the
back alleys. I thought the darker pictures
were more flexible, just from my tests.


 
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David Dyer-Bennet
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      03-06-2007
Peter Jason wrote:
> Is it better for a photo to be too light or
> too dark for subsequent retouching in
> Photoshop?


In digital, as with slides, the rule-of-thumb answer is "too dark".

If the highlights are "blown", i.e. at least one channel is clipped,
there's unrecoverable data loss, and the highlights are visually very
important, they draw the eye.

Of course, if you clip the shadows, there's *also* unrecoverable data
loss; but it's rarely as visually obvious (takes a bigger exposure error
to be equally obvious).

On the other hand, all other things being equal, on digital you
generally want to "expose to the right" (meaning the histogram is moved
towards the high end as far as possible without clipping a channel) to
minimize noise. Note the absolutely key phrase "all other things being
equal", which happens amazingly rarely in the real world.
 
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David Dyer-Bennet
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      03-06-2007
ray wrote:
> On Tue, 06 Mar 2007 13:59:23 +1100, Peter Jason wrote:
>
>> Is it better for a photo to be too light or
>> too dark for subsequent retouching in
>> Photoshop?


He said "better"; do you really think that neither is better than the
other?

He didn't say "best"; I think we would *all* agree that a "perfectly
exposed" photo was the *best* starting point. But that's not what he
asked. If I may guess at his thought process, he didn't ask that
because he, and everybody else, already knows that; it's not interesting.
 
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David Dyer-Bennet
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      03-06-2007
Peter Jason wrote:

> Thanks for the replies. I photograph
> buildings and alleyways and there is always
> great contrast between the towers and the
> back alleys. I thought the darker pictures
> were more flexible, just from my tests.


Look into HDR photography; there are various ways to combine multiple
images at various exposure levels to produce a composite result
rendering a wider density range than any single exposure can capture.
This does require static subjects (which it sounds like you have) and a
tripod-supported camera (which may or may not be feasible in your work).

 
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Kevin McMurtrie
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      03-06-2007
In article <esilev$mvc$(E-Mail Removed)>,
"Peter Jason" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> Is it better for a photo to be too light or
> too dark for subsequent retouching in
> Photoshop?


It depends on your camera's lightness curves and the subject. Clipping
on either end can ruin a photo. If possible, shoot in raw mode so you
have the greatest range. Better yet, shoot when the sun is low and then
fix the white balance. White balance is a minor adjustment compared to
fixing highlights and shadows in overhead sunlight.
 
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King Sardon
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      03-06-2007
On Tue, 6 Mar 2007 15:48:35 +1100, "Peter Jason" <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

>
>"MarkČ" <mjmorgan(lowest even number
>here)@cox..net> wrote in message
>news:tJ5Hh.18870$(E-Mail Removed)...
>> Peter Jason wrote:
>>> Is it better for a photo to be too light
>>> or
>>> too dark for subsequent retouching in
>>> Photoshop?

>>
>> If highlights are blown, there's little you
>> can do.
>> Shadows can be pushed.
>>
>> An acknowledgement of this fact is evident
>> in the design of the new 1Dmk3 has a new
>> highlight priority mode...which exposes to
>> ensure highlights are not blown out. They
>> do this operating on the assumption (and in
>> this case, a good one) that there is plenty
>> of shadow detail for recovery.
>>
>>
>> You're always going to benefit from getting
>> it right in-camera, but in high contrast
>> scenes, you're usually smart to expose for
>> the highlights, and to shoot in RAW.
>>
>> MarkČ
>>
>> Images (Plus Snaps & Grabs) by MarkČ at:
>> www.pbase.com/markuson

>
>
>Thanks for the replies. I photograph
>buildings and alleyways and there is always
>great contrast between the towers and the
>back alleys. I thought the darker pictures
>were more flexible, just from my tests.


There's your answer. Your own experience says darker is best.

It all depends on how/what you shoot and how you view the pictures.
Styles and approaches differ so much. Some people do bizarre things
and violate all the best advice but the results are great.

Just be aware that underexposed shadow areas can posterize. That's
because the areas with less exposure carry less data per pixel. It's
because sensor elements are linear devices but visual perception is
logarithmic. To get the most data, you need to maximize the amount of
light without clipping the highlights.

If you are shooting high contrast subjects like buildings and shadows,
you are probably blowing highlights all the time unless you reduce the
exposure.

That gives less data in the shadows, but that probably makes no
perceptible difference if you are shooting high contrast subjects and
showing them as high contrast images. But for low contrast subjects it
can make a difference.

See
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tu...se-right.shtml

KS
 
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