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Highlights - How to manage them?

Updated: Feb 12, 2020

One of the photography rules you will have had people say to you is " expose to the right". But what on earth does this mean?


This is based around the histogram of the image and what they want you to do is adjust the exposure so that the histogram is sitting as close to the right hand edge as you can get it with ought losing any or "clipping " as its called.


Take a look at this article on exposing to the right



The issue you have is that you must not go too far and "blow" your highlights which is when a portion of the image is overexposed to the right and goes "paper white". (When you get "blinking highlights" on image preview) When this happens you have lost all detail in the blown area and can't recover any details. This is not the case for dark areas where you will be able to recover detail however it may become grainy if very dark. So in summary its a balancing act if you cant get all the dynamic range that you see into an image as cameras are simply not as capable of resolving dynamic range as the human eye is (its about 12 stops for a camera and 20 stops for an eye). The result is you will need to decide which are the important aspects of the image and what can you recover from an under exposed area. Sean tuckers video deals with this issue









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Helpful guidance - thank you.


Using ‘adjust white level’ and ‘adjust black level’ in post editing benefits from this guidance as well, however nothing beats getting the shot correct ‘in camera’ in the first place.


Also, another reason why it’s better to shoot in RAW than jpg (less information loss)......

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