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Overexposure And Underexposure - Book Excerpt - Creative Lighting Tips And Techniques
The following excerpt is from a wonderful new digital photography book, Creative Lighting: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques by award-winning professional photographer Harold Davis. The book covers both natural light and studio lighting. However, it is not a cookbook covering studio lighting setups; nor is it a book that emphasizes the pixels over the overall visual impact that a photograph can make.
Each of the photos in Creative Lighting can be used to generate ideas for your own work — how you can use existing light, alter light, or create lighting to make spectacular photos of your own. The author includes the story behind each photo in the book, as well as full technical data about the captures.
Overexposure and Underexposure
Imagine Goldilocks, the aspiring photographer, entering the cabin of the three bears. Each bear has left a digital camera for Goldilocks. She tries the first camera (by the way, it belongs to Papa Bear and is a big, honking DSLR). It’s apparent when she looks at the LCD that her shot was way, way overexposed.
Next, Goldilocks tries the medium-size Four Thirds camera left out by Mama Bear, but—as you may be expecting by now—this camera is set to underexpose, and the image in the LCD screen is all dark.
Finally, Goldilocks tries the tiny point-and-shoot left behind by Baby Bear. Because my fable is about exposure and not hardware, the shot taken by this little camera is just right in terms of exposure.
As Goldilocks thoughtfully taste-tests the porridge, and prepares to take a nap, she muses, “So just what is so gosh darn important about being just right with exposure? And what does it mean, any way, to use the right exposure?”
These are both good questions. Generally, when people say an exposure is “right,” “correct,” or “proper” they mean that the exposure settings are balanced for the incoming light, according to an average reading of the light. There are many technological nuances to how cameras attempt to accomplish determining an average exposure. However, the method used to determine average exposure is not really as important as camera manufacturers would have you believe, and a complication that I won’t get into.
What I will tell you is that the so-called right exposure is almost always wrong!
Usually, the subject of a photo has a spectrum of exposure ranges within it. There are light areas, dark areas, and midtones. The right exposure will be wrong for most of these areas, and the photo will work with the so-called “right exposure” only if what you are most interested in happens to be in the middle of the exposure range.
In other words, the part of the subject that is most important is usually what should be exposed properly. For example, if you are photographing a portrait on a dark background you probably want to expose for the subject’s face, not the average between a dark background and the face (which would end up overexposing the face to get the dark background right).
Furthermore, sometimes a photo needs to be underexposed. For example, a night scene really doesn’t look like night if it is as light as day. Other photos need to be overexposed. For example, if you want to convey transparency on a white background it is effective to somewhat overexpose your image.
So there really is no such thing as a “right,” “correct,” or “proper” exposure—or, at least, thinking about these concepts doesn’t lead to good photography. Instead, realize that the exposure you want to use depends on a number of creative factors—such as which element in your photo is most important, and whether you want the photo to look dark or light overall.
100mm macro, 4 seconds at f/22 and ISO 100, tripod mounted
In this light and airy image of a blossoming cherry branch on a white background, I intentionally overexposed by several f-stops for creative impact.
You need to decide how you want to expose a photo based on your read of how the subject is lit, and your individual taste. This brings up an interesting question: since exposure can be substantially corrected in processing digital RAW files, does it generally make sense to bias your exposures to the under-or-over direction—that is, compared to the exposure you’ve derived as aesthetically correct, not some notional “right” exposure?
This turns out to be a surprisingly complex and controversial issue. The fact that you can adjust exposures in post-processing means that there are a number of variables.
The orthodox position is that RAW exposures that are slightly biased to the overexposure side have a greater range of tonality—and make better prints. However, while you can recover from many exposure problems in the RAW conversion process, highlight blowout can often not be fixed—and this argues against overexposure. In addition, I find that exposures tend to appear more colorful and saturated when they are slightly biased towards the underexposure side.
Personally, I tend to shoot biased slightly towards underexposure—unless I am trying intentionally for an overexposed, high-key look. If this issue concerns you, you’ll have to run some tests and see what works best for you.
52mm, 2 seconds at f/6.3 and ISO 200, tripod mounted
Hemingway hung out in a café in this small fishing village, Cojimar, in Cuba near Havana. In making this image on a back street in Cojimar as dusk turned to night, I wanted to make sure I underexposed to leave the image dark and saturated with the colors of the night.
200mm macro, 36mm extension tube, 1/4 of a second at f/40 and ISO 200, tripod mounted
Clearly, with this image of a water drop underneath an aloe blossom, the key area for exposure is the water drop. I was okay with the background going dark, and the star burst of sunshine to the left of the bud blowing out with overexposure.
Here are the links to the other free excerpts:
• Understanding Exposure
• Using A Histogram In Photoshop
• All About Aperture
• Working With Shutter Speeds
• Working With The ISO
• Using Exposure Controls with Lighting
• White Balance And Color
• Pre-Visualizing the Impact of Lighting
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Adobe Deals & Special Coupon Offers
Visit the Adobe Coupons & Special Offers Page to see the latest deals from Adobe. Find upgrade options at the Adobe Store. Get up to 80% off at the Adobe Education Store. Find out about monthly or annual subscriptions. You can also download a free 30 day trial of any Adobe CS5 product.
onOne Photoshop Plugins Sale - Plus Exclusive 10% Discount
onOne has launched a big sale that has reduced the prices of every one of their plugins. Visit onOne for full product descriptions. And if you decide to purchase one of their plugins, use our exclusive discount code - PSSPPT06 - for an additional 10% discount. Here's a list of the sale prices (before our 10% discount is applied):
Perfect Photo Suite $299.95 / $149.95 (upgrade)
Perfect Photo Suite 5.5 includes all of the onOne Software products and works with Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture. Five of the products in the Suite even work as stand-alone applications now.
Perfect Resize 7 $199.95 / $69.95 (upgrade)
The next generation of Genuine Fractals is still the industry standard for image enlargement. Works with Photoshop CS5, Lightroom, and Aperture or as a stand-alone application.
Perfect Layers $69.95
Perfect Layers is the fast and easy way to bring a layered workflow to Lightroom and Aperture. Perfect Layers works with Lightroom and Aperture or as a standalone application.
FocalPoint $99.95 / $69.95 (upgrade)
Add realistic depth of field to your images. Works with Photoshop CS5, Lightroom, and Aperture or as a stand-alone application.
PhotoTune $99.95 / $69.95 (upgrade)
Getting great color in your images is not as hard as you think. Works with Photoshop CS5, Lightroom, and Aperture or as a stand-alone application.
Mask Pro 4 $99.95 / $69.95 (upgrade)
For removing unwanted backgrounds, Mask Pro is the Photoshop plugin recommended by Advanced Photoshop magazine. Works as a plug-in for Photoshop.
PhotoTools $99.95 / $69.95 (upgrade)
Instantly give your photos the professional look. Works as a Photoshop plug-in.
PhotoFrame $99.95 / $69.95 (upgrade)
Add the perfect finishing touch to your photos or create an album layout design. Works with Photoshop CS5, Lightroom, and Aperture or as a stand-alone application.
Exclusive 15% Discount On Topaz Plugins, Bundles And Upgrades
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A three-level detail adjustment plug-in that specializes in micro-contrast enhancements and sharpening with no artifacts.
The fastest and most effective masking and extraction program with one-click mask refining.
Highest-quality noise reduction plug-in that removes the most noise and color noise while preserving the most image detail.
Provides creative simplification, art effects, and line accentuation for easy one-of-a-kind art.
Take control of the detail depth of your images with extensive smoothing, texture control and edge enhancement tools.
Drastically improves the quality of web images and other compressed photos.
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Auto FX 15% Off Special Discount Code For Photoshop Plugins - Coupon Code S94525
Our friends at Auto FX have given us an exclusive special offer discount coupon code S94525 that will give you an instant 15% discount on any and all of their amazing Photoshop plugins and even their special Photoshop Plugin Bundles.
All you have to do is apply coupon code S94525 during the checkout process and you'll have your amount recalculated to include the discount. Below is an overview of their Photoshop Bundle Deal, which the S94525 coupon code will add another 15% discount to. Enjoy!
The Auto FX Plug-in Suite provides a comprehensive selection of visual effects from the world's premier developer of Adobe Photoshop Plug-ins. This suite of products works with Photoshop CS, CS2, CS3, CS4 and CS5. Auto FX Plug-in Suite includes 165 effect filters and thousands of instant effects to improve your images. Purchased separately, the products in this suite are worth over $1,400. By purchasing the Plug-in Suite for $499 you'll save $900.
Photoshop Masking Plugin Fluid Mask - Exclusive Instant Discount
The 4 1/2 out of 5 star review of Fluid Mask at MacWorld begins by saying that this "Photoshop plug-in takes the pain out of extracting backgrounds," and goes on to recommend the latest version, stating that "Fluid Mask is a very effective tool for separating objects from their backgrounds. It offers a variety of useful features for tackling almost any difficult image, from wispy hair to complex foliage. Online video tutorials and live training sessions help ease the learning curve."
Our friends at Vertus, the makers of Fluid Mask Photoshop Plugin, have set up a special exclusive discount for PhotoshopSupport.com. Go to our Fluid Mask page for a special, exclusive discount link.
Fluid Mask is designed for photographers, image editors, graphic designers and all those who take digital image editing seriously. In a streamlined interface and workflow, Fluid Mask instantly shows key edges in the image and provides comprehensive easy to use tools that work with difficult-to-see edges and tricky areas like trees & lattices. Fluid Mask will also preserve all-important edge information for a professional quality cut out. Go to our Fluid Mask page for more info.
Special Deals On Nik Software Photoshop Plugins - Viveza, Complete Collection - 15% DISCOUNT COUPONS
Follow the links below and the 15% discount will be AUTOMATICALLY APPLIED to any purchase you make, or use our exclusive discount coupon code - NIKPSS - during the checkout process at Nik Software for the instant 15% discount. This exclusive discount coupon code can be applied to all the latest Nik Software Photoshop plugins, including Silver Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Viveza, HDR Efex Pro, and The Complete Collection (big savings).
Nik Software The Complete Collection (Plugins Bundle)
The Complete Collection includes all of Nik Software's latest award-winning plug-in software titles for Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture including: Dfine, Viveza, HDR Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, and Sharpener Pro.
The Complete Collection features products with Nik Software's patented U Point® technology, giving photographers the most powerful tools for precise and natural photographic enhancements and corrections without the need for complicated selections or layer masks.
The Complete Collection is offered in two editions: (1) the Complete Collection Ultimate Edition includes support for every plug-in to work in Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture, and offers Color Efex Pro 3.0 to work in Capture NX 2 as well. (2) the Complete Collection for Lightroom and Aperture includes support for each plug-in to only work in Lightroom and Aperture. Click here to compare both editions
Color Efex Pro 3.0
52 photographic filters with over 250 effects for professional quality images. Completely Original. Completely Indispensable.
Nik Software Color Efex Pro 3.0 filters are the leading photographic filters for digital photography. The award-winning Color Efex Pro 3.0 filters are widely used by many of today's professional photographers around the world to save time and get professional level results. Whether you choose the Complete Edition, Select Edition, or Standard Edition, you’ll get traditional and stylizing filters that offer virtually endless possibilities to enhance and transform images quickly and easily.
Patented U Point technology provides the ultimate control to selectively apply enhancements without the need for any complicated masks, layers or selections. Control color, light and tonality in your images and create unique enhancements with professional results. With 52 filters and over 250 effects found in Color Efex Pro 3.0, you can perform high quality retouching, color correction, and endless creative enhancements to your photographs. Download a free Trial version.
The most powerful tool to selectively control color and light in photographic images without the need for complicated selections or layer masks.
Two of the most important factors in creating great photography are color and light. Mastering the art of selectively correcting or enhancing each of these is now possible for every photographer without the need for complicated masks or selections, or expert-level knowledge of Photoshop. Integrating award-winning U Point technology, Viveza is the most powerful and precise tool available to control light and color in photographic images.
U Point powered Color Control Points, placed directly on colors or objects in an image (such as sky, skin, grass, etc.), reveal easy-to-use controls that photographers can use to quickly adjust brightness, contrast or color in a fraction of the time needed by other tools. With Viveza you’ll spend more time shooting photographs and save hours of image editing. Download a free Trial version.
Silver Efex Pro
Complete power and control to create professional quality black and white images in one convenient tool.
Silver Efex Pro from Nik Software is the most powerful tool for creating professional quality black and white images from your photographs. For the first time, all the advanced power and control required for professional results have been brought together in one convenient tool.
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HDR Efex Pro
Experience the power, control, and creative expression of HDR. This all in one toolkit lets you achieve your best HDR images ever, ranging from the realistic to artistic.
HDR Efex Pro is the essential new standard for creating amazingly high quality realistic to artistic HDR images with a revolutionary new all-in-one workflow. HDR Efex Pro includes a vast selection of one-click visual presets for incredibly fast results, advanced tone mapping algorithms, powerful and detailed HDR controls, and patented U Point® technology
Follow our discount coupon links, or enter our exclusive discount coupon code - NIKPSS - during the checkout process at Nik Software for the instant 15% discount. This exclusive discount coupon code can be applied to all the latest Nik Software Photoshop plugins, including Silver Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Viveza, HDR Efex Pro, and The Complete Collection (big savings).
Site Grinder Web Design Tool
There often seems to be a strict division of labor within the world of web design and development. Creative professionals tend to stick to the Photoshop domain, while those well-versed in scripting are left to the task of implementing their work. Indeed, the two realms are quite different from each other, to which any of us even vaguely familiar with either can easily attest.
Essentially, Photoshop is a no-holds-barred design studio, offering the artist a seemingly endless array of creative options. On the other hand, HTML, CSS, Java and the like follow strict rules of engagement, requiring the developer to take any number of esoteric concerns into consideration in order to ensure that designs are properly displayed on the web.
Turn Photoshop Into A Complete Web Design Tool
SiteGrinder seeks to bridge this gap between design and development. Basically, SiteGrinder turns Photoshop into an easy-to-use and fully functional web design tool. With SiteGrinder, designers will now have the freedom to totally let their creativity loose and then, without skipping a beat, transfer their designs to the web. Bringing esthetic concerns together with more practical considerations, SiteGrinder is an amazingly powerful tool that would make a fantastic addition to any web designer's bag of tricks. Mac OS X and Windows versions of the SiteGrinder unlockable demo are available now via download.
WordPress Photoshop Plug-in Creates Wordpress Blogs & Sites
Designers can now create PSD to WordPress Themes in Photoshop with Media Lab's NEW SG3xpress for Wordpress Photoshop plug-in. In addition, Media Lab has released the SG3xpress Add-on for its SiteGrinder 3 for users who wish to add advanced blog and WordPress Theme-building to the already powerful SiteGrinder 3 website creation software.
If you know Photoshop then you already know enough to start creating WordPress themes and blogs for yourself and your clients. Creating a blog or a WordPress site in Photoshop is easy with SG3xpress. Now you can go directly to WordPress with your design saving even more time and money for yourself and your clients.
Free Plugins And Extras For Photographers And Designers - onOne Free Products - Fully Functional, No Expiry Date
onOne is offering some nice free products for photographers and designers. This software is not the same as the demo products they also offer. These free downloads are fully functional and do not expire. Customers who download these products will also receive special promotional pricing from onOne. The free products include the following:
PhotoTools 2.5 Free Edition - Add a professional look to your photos with the PhotoTools 2.5 Free Edition plug-in for Photoshop. Includes 26 professional-grade actions and photographic effects to make your images stand out from the crowd.
PhotoFrame 4.5 Free Edition - Add the perfect finishing touch to your photos with the PhotoFrame 4.5 Free plug-in for Photoshop. Includes 30 professional-grade edges, backgrounds, textures, adornments, and even full-page album layouts. Discover a whole new way to get outstanding results inside of Photoshop.
Perfect Presets for LightRoom - Designed to provide a streamlined workflow and make you more creative, these presets for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom were designed to help you get the most out of Lightroom.
Perfect Presets for Aperture - Designed to provide a streamlined workflow and make you more creative, these presets for Aperture 3 were designed to help you get the most out of Aperture.
Perfect Presets for Camera Raw - Designed to provide a streamlined workflow and make you more creative, these presets for Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) were designed to help you get the most out of your Raw images in Adobe Photoshop.
Free Photoshop Templates - Album templates, layouts, backgrounds and edges to save you time in Photoshop.
lynda.com Online Training Library - View Free Video Clips
Subscriptions to the lynda.com Online Training Library provide anytime access to tens of thousands of video tutorials covering Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, web design, digital imaging, 3D, digital video, animation, and many other topics. View free video clips.
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