Expose?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by EchoingWhisper, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. EchoingWhisper

    EchoingWhisper TPF Noob!

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    Where should I expose for portraits? Should I expose for the shadow or highlights of the faces?
     
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  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The "rule" I've always heard for digital is when in doubt expose for the highlights* and capture as much light data as possible. Then in editing you can pull back the exposure to the effect you want. This being better than pushing the photo up from the shadows and thus generating/revealing more noise. That's at least the basic idea of expose to the right method.



    * saying that I probably mean more expose for the brights as opposed to highlights - since things like bright eye highlights would easily have the rest of the shot very underexposed by virtue of their much brighter light - and their size makes them unnoticeable even when overexposed)
     
  3. EchoingWhisper

    EchoingWhisper TPF Noob!

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    I do understand what you're trying to say. I'm already using this technique. But what I'm asking is that for the end product, which part of the face should be correctly exposed?
     
  4. Vtec44

    Vtec44 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Well that depends on if you want to under or over expose and if the lighting on the face is even, not to mention skin tone of the person. I use either the forehead or the cheeks with spot metering. For studio, I use a light meter. :D
     
  5. EchoingWhisper

    EchoingWhisper TPF Noob!

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    I find that even gray cards aren't useful enough. It depends on the direction the gray card is facing. I thought of this, in low light, the highlights should be exposed, in day light, the shadows should be exposed. I'm still not sure if that would work though. I'm now struggling with selecting which part of the face to expose. I tried to expose shadows if most of the face is in shadow, and vice versa, but that didn't work. It turned out very unprofessional, because the exposure of each scene isn't the same. The easiest thing to do is to use a reflector, but that doesn't work in all conditions. Any ideas?
     
  6. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Caucasian skin highlights should be between 235 and 240 in the red channel.

    The darkest skin areas should be between 12 and 32. Less than 12 is under exposed.

    For people that don't have 'pink' skin it's a little different lighting wise.
    We still need the 240 in the highlights, but dark skinned people should be lit so the light reflections show the form and contours of the face, instead of using shadows to model the facial mask. A dark shadow on dark skin will not show form and contour.
     
  7. EchoingWhisper

    EchoingWhisper TPF Noob!

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    I'm still confused. For the end product, which part of the skin should have correct brightness?
     
  8. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    THE HIGHLIGHTS & don't block the shadows unless you're going for a high degree of drama with the lighting!
     
  9. EchoingWhisper

    EchoingWhisper TPF Noob!

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    Which means I have to find a middle point for both the highlights and the shadows. Don't seem like an easy thing to do.
     
  10. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Should be you have a Nikon
     
  11. Mach0

    Mach0 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    It's not lol. I drive myself nuts still. That's where spot metering comes in. I haven't tried it in the sun or with flash yet lol. I'm still trying to learn it without. I'm talking a huge difference though. Like a person with darker skin wearing a white shirt. I'll learn it though.
     
  12. EchoingWhisper

    EchoingWhisper TPF Noob!

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    lol, it's not Nikon's problem, more like my problem. I do use my friends' Canons quite often. Canon have the same problem, so most likely I'm just nitpicky.
     
  13. EchoingWhisper

    EchoingWhisper TPF Noob!

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    My spot meter covers too much to be useful. In many cases, it's just too large. Really hope that I could select the spot size.
     
  14. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Not in my hands they don't
     
  15. Mach0

    Mach0 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I am not sure if I'm doing it right to be honest. But I take a reading off of both and choose something in between. If highlights are still blown, then I adjust and try it again. I know it will take me a little while. I have to read up on it again. I don't know much about the zones yet but setting the camera's highlight warning helps a lot.
     

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