Overexposing/underexposing

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by vonnagy, Mar 15, 2004.

  1. vonnagy

    vonnagy have kiwi, will travel...

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    We all try to get that perfect exposure, but based on the lighting situation we might need to bracket our shots to see if we can get that perfect exposure.

    My question, given that you don't have the 'perfect' exposure- Would you prefer to have your print slightly overexposed, or slightly underexposed? Is there a reason you would choose one or another besides personal preference?
     
  2. karissa

    karissa The Untitled

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    Thats a hard choice.. I guess I would pick over exposed because I think it is the easiest to correct in ps. My other guess would be that one really brilliant :idea: person is going to come here and post something that will change my mind. :thumbsup:
     
  3. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    Underexposed, definitely. I shoot digitally, and if you overexpose, you've lost the data, permanently. If a shot is slightly underexposed, the data is there, just waiting for photoshop to dig it out. I follow the philosophy of Michael Reichmann from the Luminous Landscape, and always "expose to the right", which is getting as close to overexposing without overexposing.

    Film is obviously a different story, but I have to disagree with karissa about fixing in photoshop. You can't really fix an overexposed image, at least the parts that are overexposed. They are gone forever :(
     
  4. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    For film, I would pick over, because my limited experience is that it's easier to get a good print by increasing time, while a thin neg can be a bear.

    For digital, it's a mixed bag. I'd take over as long as the highlights are blown out, but it doesn't take much for that to happen. Under gives you noise, but at least there's some info there to work with.

    This is off the top of my head, so corrections are appreciated.
     
  5. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Standard advice for film is to error on the side of overexpose for negs, underexpose for positives.
     
  6. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    With print film (negatives) it's the opposite. Blown out highlights often do contain the info, it just needs to be printed correctly, while underexposed shadows will contain no detail.
     
  7. karissa

    karissa The Untitled

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    I also shoot digital.... and like I said...

     
  8. vonnagy

    vonnagy have kiwi, will travel...

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    Thats exactly how i feel, i've been able to salvage a lot of underexposed shots in but I haven't been able to salvage many overexposed shots at in photoshop.

    But underexposure is in regard to digital work... film i would have no clue.

    Hopefully ksmattfish will find this post, because he stated somewhere here that he would err on the side of overexposure; it would interesting to get his input.

    edit 2004/03/16: ksmattfish is a lot faster typer than i am!!!
     
  9. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    When you mention Photoshop you also have to say whether you are working with digital capture or scanned film. Scanned film in Photoshop will follow the same rules as printing film as far as +/- goes.
     
  10. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

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    I shoot mainly with slide film (for color) and most I tend to over expose. Velvia 50 for instance I shoot at 40. On the other hand I tried Astia for portraits and liked it slightly underexposed.
     
  11. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    T400CN was one film I consistantly overexposed. It looked great at 320 developed for 400. You could go down to 100 if the lab knew what it was doing, if I remember correctly.
     
  12. graigdavis

    graigdavis TPF Noob!

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    Im always underexposing my photos if I have to choose. I love the thin highlights you get. And yea, I find it easier to lighten up an underexposed photo.
     

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