Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Exposure Tests Using RAW

Do you over expose, under expose, or trust your light meter when shooting digital?

In the good old days when I was shooting B&W film I pretty much always overexposed a stop or two. After doing my research on the web it really was time to get out in the winter air and start testing for myself. There is a complexity in assessing exposure in that you have to manually adjust each raw image to get the best look out of it. I don't go for super Ansell Adams style tonal range, I just like to aim for a photo that matches my own personal aesthetic.

In the above shots I bracketed +2 to -2 and ran them through Raw in Photoshop, and assessed the results for myself to my own aesthetic. I recommend this is how you approach this process. Go out do some test shots yourself, then process to get what you consider to be the best and compare.

Digital Cameras are great at handling tonal range in the highlights but struggle in the low light areas, so overexposing seems to provide an excellent balance of detail in the shadows and detail in the highlights. If you like a bit of contrast and some moody sky try overexposing 2 stops... it works for me.

Next I will have a look in more detail at processing photos in RAW.

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