Over Expose Under Develop?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Commonman, Oct 24, 2007.

  1. Commonman

    Commonman TPF Noob!

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    A pro photographer told something once that I now cannot remember.
    He said something like "over expose and under develop" or the reverse.

    Does this ring a bell with anyone? If so, what is the deal? What is the logic behind it?
     
  2. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've heard that... but it is always better to go for proper exposure and not try to compensate for it later. That goes for film as well as digital.

    ... and its underexpose, overdevelop, at least as I always heard it.
     
  3. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    If you over expose you might not be able to recover highlight info. You can under expose and over develop but it depends on what type of look you want.

    Better to get the correct exposure for the shot you want.
     
  4. Sideburns

    Sideburns TPF Noob!

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    it would likely be underexpose, overdevelop. Once you overexpose, everything is gone.

    But seriously...try to get it right the first time.

    With c41 you can get away with lots more...
    But with slides and digital, you have a very narrow latitude and therefore should expose as properly as possible.
     
  5. (Ghastly) Krueger

    (Ghastly) Krueger TPF Noob!

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    Reminds me of something I read that Ansel Adams would say: "Expose for the shadows, develop for highlights" I haven't read his books, they're on my list, I got that from some page. It also said it applies to negative film... for slide and digital it should be the inverse.
     
  6. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    It depends a lot on what is meant by 'overexpose'. If it is referring to midtone exposure then what you have described is a way of reducing contrast, and hence recording a wider subject brightness range. On the other hand, underexposing and overdeveloping increases contrast and records a smaller scene brightness range.

    If you fix the exposure based on a shadow measurement then you would not overexpose or underexpose, because the 'toe speed' of a film doesn't change very much with development. That is the basis of the Zone System: "Expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights", as mentioned by Ghastly.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  7. Commonman

    Commonman TPF Noob!

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    Okay, thanks to all of you who have contributed. Now I understand.
     

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