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10-03-2011, 05:55 PM   #1
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What's the correct way to expose ?

The images were taken with AE locked to AF.

Focus point was the mug (IIRC)

EXIF

[ Overview ]
Creation date: 10/2/2011 19:05
Camera: PENTAX K-x
Lens: smc PENTAX-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL II
Focal length: 55 mm (equiv. 82 mm)
Aperture: F5.6
Exposure time: 1/100"
ISO speed rating: 1250/32
Program: Aperture Priority
Metering Mode: Pattern
White Balance: Auto
Focus Mode: AF-S
Image Stabilizer: stabilized
Noise Reduction: Off
Flash: Flash did not fire, compulsory flash mode





Focus point was the Lamp

EXIF
[ Overview ]
Creation date: 10/2/2011 19:05
Camera: PENTAX K-x
Lens: smc PENTAX-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL II
Focal length: 55 mm (equiv. 82 mm)
Aperture: F5.6
Exposure time: 1/100"
ISO speed rating: 200/24
Program: Aperture Priority
Metering Mode: Pattern
White Balance: Auto
Focus Mode: AF-S
Image Stabilizer: stabilized
Noise Reduction: Off
Flash: Flash did not fire, compulsory flash mode


So I have read that people will expose for the brightest portion and push up shadows in photoshop with the shadow/highlight option. I tried that, but it didn't seem as real as the picture with the focus point on the mug.

10-03-2011, 06:17 PM   #2
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Look at the loss of detail in the top of the lampshade on the top picture. Then look at all the detail lost in the bottom picture, you can't see the mouse or much of the whole second sheet of paper. Now stop thinking about what's real and try and decide which is the better picture. I actually find the detail in the lampshade more interesting than what's the mouse and pen and paper, but that's pretty much irrelevant. You just need to look at what you are trying to say and decide what best suits your purposes. Your technique defines your message. In this case, the second shot is more intimate and inviting. The first is just a desk with a lamp with blasted highlights, and a cluttered background... just my opinion, and defintiely not as relevant to you as something you might think yourself. But one of many ways to approach this.
10-03-2011, 06:35 PM   #3
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Ditto Norm's response.

The rule to remember is: There is no correct exposure. Expose for what you want the picture to show.
10-03-2011, 07:06 PM   #4
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Overstating the obvious - white paper should normally be white :-) If you are going for some moody effect, you can make it whatever you want. There are very few "real" rules.


Last edited by SpecialK; 10-03-2011 at 07:16 PM.
10-03-2011, 07:21 PM   #5
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I agree with the other posts, with one addition: you need to work in varied lighting enough to realize how you camera will meter in the different conditions. I've always preferred a spot (or limited area) meter so I can easily pick which area to measure. But you can learn to get the same effect from different meter patterns as long as you can predict it. I also use manual metering 90% of the time, so I don't have to remember all the details about compensation, but can just meter and change the f-stop (or speed) - it's faster than messing with compensation.
But then, most of my work is still on film cameras with all manual controls, where such things seem natural.
10-04-2011, 12:28 AM   #6
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If the lighting was constant those photos have exactly the same exposure according to the EXIFs - same f-stop & shutter speed - only the ISO differs. So in principle both photos contain exactly the same information!

According to the numbers if every pixel in photo #2 were multiplied by 1250/200 the result would be identical to photo#1.

I don't know that this has anything much to do with your question but it is interesting I think.
10-04-2011, 02:19 AM   #7
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As said by others above:

1) There is no such thing as "absolutely correct exposure" - only the one(s) that show(s) what you want, and

2) Both photos (as long as you don't burn out the highlights) contain the same information.

That said, if you want to show it all in a situation like your's with huge differences in light levels, you can reort to High Dynamic Range (HDR) techniques. One can sort of simulate the outcome of an HDR image (ref. newarts suggestions above) using curves and levels and get something like this:
Attached Images
 
10-04-2011, 07:59 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by StDevious Quote
What's the correct way to expose ?
I like to walk up behind them and pull their shirts up....

10-04-2011, 08:08 AM   #9
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Switch to Spot metering, set your EV Compensation based on what you are metering. In the case of the mug and the lamp, +1.5 - 2 should do the trick. If you are metering the darker area, go negative with the EV Compensation. Learn to control That, and you'll rarely miss a shot.

10-04-2011, 09:34 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I like to walk up behind them and pull their shirts up....
Last time I tried that, I got thrown into a swimming pool. Luckily, it had water in it.

ObTopic:
Bracket bracket bracket. When in doubt, try everything, including flash as needed.
10-04-2011, 09:49 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
Ditto Norm's response.

The rule to remember is: There is no correct exposure. Expose for what you want the picture to show.
And, since this wasn't totally obvious to me at first:

Decide what you want the picture to show first.

Often you can skip that and still be fine, or close enough to fix in processing. But it makes you lazy, and reliant on the camera's setup and luck to work in difficult conditions.
10-04-2011, 11:01 AM   #12
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If to expose best means to collect the most image information then the best exposure will be when you:

meter at the lowest ISO you can use so the brightest area you don't want overexposed is +2.7EV.*

For example, spot meter off the wall just under the left side of the lampshade & adjust the exposure so the viewfinder meter shows +2.7EV; recompose then shoot. The resultant image will make the best possible use of the dynamic range available. Adjust levels later if you need to.

* that is because the viewfinder meter will read 0.0 when it reads a brightness 12.5% of maximum which is 3 stops below overexposed. - I said 2.7 stops to be safe.

PS I rarely ever bother to do this - even though it collects the most information.
10-05-2011, 10:02 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I like to walk up behind them and pull their shirts up....
Ya know those guys walking around with their belts around their thighs, their pants sagged so low their boxers are showing? I've always been tempted to walk up behind them and finish the job, ever since that dumbass fad got started.
10-05-2011, 12:20 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by newarts Quote
If to expose best means to collect the most image information then the best exposure will be when you:

meter at the lowest ISO you can use so the brightest area you don't want overexposed is +2.7EV.*

For example, spot meter off the wall just under the left side of the lampshade & adjust the exposure so the viewfinder meter shows +2.7EV; recompose then shoot. The resultant image will make the best possible use of the dynamic range available. Adjust levels later if you need to.

* that is because the viewfinder meter will read 0.0 when it reads a brightness 12.5% of maximum which is 3 stops below overexposed. - I said 2.7 stops to be safe.

PS I rarely ever bother to do this - even though it collects the most information.
I think when you shoot in RAW, the information-gathering approach works, because you can do more manipulation later. For a JPG shot, too much manipulation can be trouble, and you gather less information to start with so it's more likely.
10-05-2011, 02:10 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
I think when you shoot in RAW, the information-gathering approach works, because you can do more manipulation later. For a JPG shot, too much manipulation can be trouble, and you gather less information to start with so it's more likely.
Regarding exposing to the right I'm not sure but I think just sliding a jpeg's brightness down a bit isn't a lot of manipulation.

Again -I don't usually do this - but if a person thinks "best" means most info for later use, exposing to the right may be "best". I'll explore it a bit.
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