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View Full Version : Do you overexpose, underexpose, or strictly follow your meter?

03-14-2004, 06:47 AM
This was sparked by another thread about using a grey card...

But then... coming from film and shooting thousands of rolls of film, I realized that I have for the most part adjusted everything to my liking... including reading the exposure.

Do you read the meter and are a slave to it???

Do you read a meter and tweak it up or down by half a stop, a third of a stop, or even a full stop?

What difference does half a stop make when shooting a photograph?

Probably enough to influence a new way of looking at it.

Your thoughts???



Neil Enns
03-14-2004, 08:11 AM
As I mentioned in the other thread I use the meter as a starting point but rely heavily on the histogram that displays after the shot to validate that the scene was captured correctly.

There are many scenes where the in-camera meter will get fooled. A great example was last weekend when my wife and I had friends over with their German Shepard. Our lab is yellow, their dog is black. The two of them in the frame together on a sunny day totally fooled the in-camera meter. I was actually shooting so fast I *didn't* check the histogram, but sure enough in post processing the histogram showed they were all under-exposed.

Had I looked at the histogram on the when shooting I would have known and would have compensated up or down.

So, always have the histogram review on, and have it stay up until you press another button so you get plenty of time to evaluate. There's a good article over at Luminous Landscape on making the best use of your histogram: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/understanding-series/understanding-histograms.shtml. There's a related article on how with digital cameras it is better to expose to the right, rather than the left, of the histogram: http://luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/expose-right.shtml.

Lee Yuan Sheng
03-14-2004, 09:33 AM
A modern day Matrix meter doesn't require much correction. Just remember the situations where the meter will be fooled.

03-14-2004, 09:38 AM
One of the cool things in my F828 is the live histogram you have when setting the exposure of your shot. It can be a good help, which you *will* need since the LCD does not do the real exposure justice.

03-15-2004, 01:01 PM
There are times I underexpose a photo to add some drama to it...

This is not to be taken as compensating to correct exposure but deliberate underexposure.

I've seen work by other people who have shot at as much as 2 stops under to render a more dramatic photo.

There are times when I over expose to exaggerate the highlights... to wash out bright areas...

Anyone tried this???


Lee Yuan Sheng
03-15-2004, 05:04 PM
Do you mean hi-key and low-key lighting/exposure techniques?

03-15-2004, 06:15 PM
Generally, on my Canon Rebel (film) I underexpose my photos by 1/2 stop to give my colors some more depth and to allow me to edit more later. It seems easier to increase exposure in an editing program without washing out colors than underexposing later to regain some depth in washed out scenes.

On my Canon A70 I find the need to almost always underexpose by 1/2 to a full stop because everything within 10 feet of the flash is overexposed in low light situations. Also, even in sunlight conditions the camera seems to slightly overexpose shots so I'm happy with the slight underexposure.

For artistic stuff I just choose the exposure that fits the mood I'm trying to convey the best.