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Thread: Did I push the exposure compensation too high?

  1. #1

    Did I push the exposure compensation too high?

    I wasn't sure if I should put this topic in the post-processing forum, so I put it here to be safe. So I'm working on this portrait, but I'm wondering if I've brightened the image too much. If you look at the picture from an [extreme] angle, you might see some redness on her face. Does this mean that my image has become posterized?

    Did I push the exposure compensation too high?

  2. #2
    Letrow's Avatar
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    Re: Did I push the exposure compensation too high?

    Hi. First of all, could you perhaps add your first name to your profile?
    On your question: I don't really see posterization TBH if I enlarge the portrait. You are talking about extreme angles, so can you expand on that a bit more?
    The image looks bright, but not necessarily too bright on my monitor.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Did I push the exposure compensation too high?

    The extreme angle issue is related to your screen’s optimal viewing angle. Unfortunately, with modern LCD screens one has to view the image pretty well straight on to get an accurate view of the colours. The red overtones are probably just a result of this, rather than an issue with the way you are handling the image in post.

    That being said, your histogram is certainly showing that you have blown out some highlights, so that tends to indicate a bit of a problem. Click on the triangle at the top right hand corner of the histogram and any clipped areas will show up in red. That is the only way you can really judge if you have blown out significant parts of the image. If you are seeing limited clipping in the white background I would not get too excited about it, but if you are seeing clipping in your subject’s face, you should back off on the exposure a bit.

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    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Did I push the exposure compensation too high?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    That being said, your histogram is certainly showing that you have blown out some highlights, so that tends to indicate a bit of a problem. Click on the triangle at the top right hand corner of the histogram and any clipped areas will show up in red. That is the only way you can really judge if you have blown out significant parts of the image. If you are seeing limited clipping in the white background I would not get too excited about it, but if you are seeing clipping in your subject’s face, you should back off on the exposure a bit.
    True, but those highlights might be in the background, which contains no relevant detail. If it's blown out, who cares? The photo's about the subject, and I think the exposure's about right for her. Perhaps a tad high, but if that's the effect you're after, you're spot-on.

    In related news, nice shot.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Did I push the exposure compensation too high?

    Quote Originally Posted by RustBeltRaw View Post
    True, but those highlights might be in the background, which contains no relevant detail. If it's blown out, who cares? The photo's about the subject, and I think the exposure's about right for her. Perhaps a tad high, but if that's the effect you're after, you're spot-on.

    In related news, nice shot.
    Yes and no; in my view it is a matter of degree.

    If the image is going to be displayed on a computer only; I might lean in this direction, but if it is going to be printed then a large pure white area is going to be a bit of an issue. White = no colour and does impact the appearance of a print as large areas where there is no ink applied are quite noticeable. When printing I try to have my lightest tones to show a value of between 245 and 250 just to ensure that there is some ink that has been put down on the paper.

  6. #6

    Re: Did I push the exposure compensation too high?

    You are talking about extreme angles, so can you expand on that a bit more?
    @Letrow: I'm talking about viewing angles - I work on a laptop, so I'm able to tilt my screen to pretty extreme angles. For smooth gradients, decreasing the viewing angle usually results in a gradual darkening of the image. But with this image, a red band appears along her cheekbones when I start tilting my screen. I'm wondering if this means that one or two of the color channels have been blown out.

    If the image is going to be displayed on a computer only; I might lean in this direction, but if it is going to be printed then a large pure white area is going to be a bit of an issue. White = no colour and does impact the appearance of a print as large areas where there is no ink applied are quite noticeable. When printing I try to have my lightest tones to show a value of between 245 and 250 just to ensure that there is some ink that has been put down on the paper.
    I never thought of that! But yeah, I was kind of going for a high-key, completely blown out background.

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    Re: Did I push the exposure compensation too high?

    If you open the Curve Tool and hover your mouse over a bright area of your subject, a small dot will be displayed on the curve. If that dot is not displayed all the way over on the far right side of the curve, you know that particular area of the image is not being blown. If it is, pull that part of the curve downward to solve the problem, assuming of course that the area is not blown so much that it is devoid of data to work with.

    By the way, nice model and photo!

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    Re: Did I push the exposure compensation too high?

    Hi Leo,

    Your exposure is fine -- the histogram clipping is referring to the background. With backgrounds you'll generally want to light them separately but don't over-expose them by more than about 1/3 of a stop over and above the exposure for the subject or you'll lose fine detail where the hair passes in front of the backdrop.

    The big issue with your image is that the midtones are still up-shifted, resulting in a loss of detail across the face. Simply decrease the brightness slider slightly to fix.

    Did I push the exposure compensation too high?

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    Re: Did I push the exposure compensation too high?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Leo,

    Your exposure is fine -- the histogram clipping is referring to the background. With backgrounds you'll generally want to light them separately but don't over-expose them by more than about 1/3 of a stop over and above the exposure for the subject or you'll lose fine detail where the hair passes in front of the backdrop.

    The big issue with your image is that the midtones are still up-shifted, resulting in a loss of detail across the face. Simply decrease the brightness slider slightly to fix.

    Did I push the exposure compensation too high?
    Nice fix Colin your skills are outstanding!

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    Re: Did I push the exposure compensation too high?

    Quote Originally Posted by RogerCook View Post
    Nice fix Colin your skills are outstanding!
    Thanks Roger, but that's about as easy as it gets

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    Re: Did I push the exposure compensation too high?

    This is a very nice portrait and it looks good on my uncalibrated screen. But I would crop the bottom to get rid of the white triangle (or clone it to make it less white). I find that portion distracting.

  12. #12

    Re: Did I push the exposure compensation too high?

    Thank you guys for the feedback! Yeah I'll probably crop it. I dunno if I'll lower the brightness though - I was kind of trying to lose some detail to even out her complexion a little and to give the picture a little more...punch, I guess. What do you think?

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Did I push the exposure compensation too high?

    Evening out someones complexion with a brute force technique like adding blur, etc. end up looking plastic-like and fake. You might not notice this as much when you post a very small image on the internet, but once you look at a larger view, the result is not pleasing.

    There are other tools in your toolkit that let you rework the image to remove imperfections and add to the natural features of your subject. The spot healing brush, the clone tool, burning and dodging tools are all your friends.

    The downside is that it takes time (and practice) to use them, but the results are worth it in the end.

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    Re: Did I push the exposure compensation too high?

    Quote Originally Posted by sirPrincess View Post
    Thank you guys for the feedback! Yeah I'll probably crop it. I dunno if I'll lower the brightness though - I was kind of trying to lose some detail to even out her complexion a little and to give the picture a little more...punch, I guess. What do you think?
    To be honest Leo, I think the biggest improvement could probably be gained from a different pose.

    You might get some ideas from some of my studio shots ...

    http://www.pbase.com/cjsouthern/studio_portraits

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