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Photography DiscussionETTR

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Charles Haacker
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Re: ETTR

Post by Charles Haacker » Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:41 pm

St3v3M wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:01 pm
So now I have a question -
- Is it better to move the Exposure Slider or the Black Slider to recover the blacks?
* And more importantly, will one produce less noise on the image than the other?

I'm going to see if I can test it and get right back to this. S-
I think you have to make a distinction between shadows and blacks. Shadows are dark but there should be detail. Black may have zero detail, even if not clipped. For me the key is adjusting exposure and opening the shadow. The black slider is used only to establish a base black necessary for good "scale".

When I’m editing in Lightroom, pretty much the first thing I do is try to gauge the exposure, first by looking at the image itself, but also by looking at the histogram. I can see if the histogram is bunched to the right, maybe even not touching the left wall of the box (and if I’ve ETTR then it should be bunched to the right), I’ll most likely pull the exposure slider to the left, watching to see the histogram “center” more or less. I don’t think you can get real scientific with this since it is an art form, but I like to approach it with some science in mind, but the real proof of the pudding is in the image. If it looks too dark or light it probably is regardless what the histogram "says."

I am still waving my white cane as I navigate the mysteries of Lightroom, but I am perceiving there is a difference between the shadow slider and the black slider. It’s a subtle difference. My workflow has evolved to the point that I adjust shadows and highlights before I do blacks and whites. I am not at all averse to throwing the shadow slider all the way up (right) to open them, and sometimes the highlight slider all the way down (left). That compresses the contrast range and I can see it in the histogram, which broadens and maybe flattens out, but also I can really see it in the image as the shadows open with detail, plus more detail in the highlights. The overall exposure may need a slight adjustment at this point. This is not a go-to either; you have to gauge it based on what it should look like.

For me, the black and white sliders are used almost always last. I turn on the clipping indicators, hit the ALT or OPTION key, and slide the white slider to the right until I see the barest hint of red (highlight) clipping, then back it off until it disappears. The black slider goes left until I see the barest hint of blue (clipping), but sometimes I will leave a little of it as a true, true black puts a kindofa “base” on the picture. I have felt that adjusting the blacks and whites until they are alllllllmost clipped has very little affect on the look of the highlights and shadows, but I don’t know precisely why since they are all global adjustments.

So my thinking is, it’s not a matter of better, but different. I like my shadows open with good detail but I also want a solid black somewhere. Ditto with the highlights, good detail but with an almost clipped white somewhere. This is basically a bastard zone system.

As far as noise is concerned, I don’t think it makes a difference. Noise is mostly a function of ISO: the higher (“faster”) the ISO the more noise it tends to generate, exactly like film. If you’re forced to use a high ISO it will increase noise, degrade sharpness, may even have an affect on colors, but it’s all tradeoffs. If you’re working in reasonable light it’s easy enough to damp without doing too much damage to sharpness. The main thing I grasp about ETTR is that by giving more exposure to the shadows you gain detail and reduce noise at any ISO. You are, as we used to do in B&W wet days, “exposing for the shadow and developing for the highlight.”

Almost forgot: https://improvephotography.com/46492/sh ... fferently/
Friends call me Chuck. :photo: This link takes you to my Flickr albums. Please click on any album to scroll through it.
(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)

All the great photographers use cameras! No, really. :|

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Post by Matt Quinn » Wed Mar 28, 2018 12:32 am

St3v3M wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:01 pm
So now I have a question -
- Is it better to move the Exposure Slider or the Black Slider to recover the blacks?
* And more importantly, will one produce less noise on the image than the other?

I'm going to see if I can test it and get right back to this. S-
Steve, One instructor ordered me never to touch the exposure slider. So, in his universe, the black slider would be the choice. Matt
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Post by Matt Quinn » Wed Mar 28, 2018 12:47 am

Chuck, Your workflow mirrors the one I have been taught. Although Instructor X never suggested but always commanded: highlights all the way to the left, shadows all the way to the right, blacks and whites up to but not at the edge. Then a very slight touch of clarity for landscapes. I have been doing that but lately I have added one step: pop the image into PS and use auto in camera raw filter, then, if it lights up any of the edges, back off in PS, then export back into Lightroom. Then Define. And then SEP2. Then back into Lightroom where I fiddle with the graph for the elegant s curve. Then some other steps, depending. But I never get exactly what I want because I never know what I want. I only know it when I see it. Mostly, it's been luck. Thanks for the other comments on Steve's post; very helpful. Matt
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Post by St3v3M » Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:37 am

Charles Haacker wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:41 pm
I think you have to make a distinction between shadows and blacks. Shadows are dark but there should be detail. Black may have zero detail, even if not clipped. For me the key is adjusting exposure and opening the shadow. The black slider is used only to establish a base black necessary for good "scale".

When I’m editing in Lightroom, pretty much the first thing I do is try to gauge the exposure, first by looking at the image itself, but also by looking at the histogram. I can see if the histogram is bunched to the right, maybe even not touching the left wall of the box (and if I’ve ETTR then it should be bunched to the right), I’ll most likely pull the exposure slider to the left, watching to see the histogram “center” more or less. I don’t think you can get real scientific with this since it is an art form, but I like to approach it with some science in mind, but the real proof of the pudding is in the image. If it looks too dark or light it probably is regardless what the histogram "says."

I am still waving my white cane as I navigate the mysteries of Lightroom, but I am perceiving there is a difference between the shadow slider and the black slider. It’s a subtle difference. My workflow has evolved to the point that I adjust shadows and highlights before I do blacks and whites. I am not at all averse to throwing the shadow slider all the way up (right) to open them, and sometimes the highlight slider all the way down (left). That compresses the contrast range and I can see it in the histogram, which broadens and maybe flattens out, but also I can really see it in the image as the shadows open with detail, plus more detail in the highlights. The overall exposure may need a slight adjustment at this point. This is not a go-to either; you have to gauge it based on what it should look like.

For me, the black and white sliders are used almost always last. I turn on the clipping indicators, hit the ALT or OPTION key, and slide the white slider to the right until I see the barest hint of red (highlight) clipping, then back it off until it disappears. The black slider goes left until I see the barest hint of blue (clipping), but sometimes I will leave a little of it as a true, true black puts a kindofa “base” on the picture. I have felt that adjusting the blacks and whites until they are alllllllmost clipped has very little affect on the look of the highlights and shadows, but I don’t know precisely why since they are all global adjustments.

So my thinking is, it’s not a matter of better, but different. I like my shadows open with good detail but I also want a solid black somewhere. Ditto with the highlights, good detail but with an almost clipped white somewhere. This is basically a bastard zone system.

As far as noise is concerned, I don’t think it makes a difference. Noise is mostly a function of ISO: the higher (“faster”) the ISO the more noise it tends to generate, exactly like film. If you’re forced to use a high ISO it will increase noise, degrade sharpness, may even have an affect on colors, but it’s all tradeoffs. If you’re working in reasonable light it’s easy enough to damp without doing too much damage to sharpness. The main thing I grasp about ETTR is that by giving more exposure to the shadows you gain detail and reduce noise at any ISO. You are, as we used to do in B&W wet days, “exposing for the shadow and developing for the highlight.”

Almost forgot: https://improvephotography.com/46492/sh ... fferently/
So ETTR is really about preserving the Shadows. Look at me learning something, I love it!

I've been looking at the Metadata and repositioning Exposure by X, where if I pushed Exposure Compensation +2 I would pull Exposure back -2, but I think I was being to scientific about it and like your idea better. Feather it as needed.

And I was curious too and found this - Shadows vs Blacks Sliders: How They Affect Photos Differently. Then I remembered - if you hover over the Histogram in Lighroom Develop Module it tells you what it's for. This is good information though as I've been starting with the Blacks and see the difference now. Neat! And Yes to the clipping indicators. Wouldn't want to work without them!

There's a lot to think about here, but I think I'm getting it. Thank you for all of this! S-
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Post by St3v3M » Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:42 am

Matt Quinn wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 12:32 am
Steve, One instructor ordered me never to touch the exposure slider. So, in his universe, the black slider would be the choice. Matt
I'm having a hard time with this one, but maybe the instructor didn't change the Exposure Compensation.

Here's the 'problem.' I Developed an image with an EC+2 in Lightroom and moved the Black all the way left. It crushed the Blacks so I tried Shadows and felt the same. I think it's good advice but probably for a well-developed image. S-
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Post by St3v3M » Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:44 am

Matt Quinn wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 12:47 am
Chuck, Your workflow mirrors the one I have been taught. Although Instructor X never suggested but always commanded: highlights all the way to the left, shadows all the way to the right, blacks and whites up to but not at the edge. Then a very slight touch of clarity for landscapes. I have been doing that but lately I have added one step: pop the image into PS and use auto in camera raw filter, then, if it lights up any of the edges, back off in PS, then export back into Lightroom. Then Define. And then SEP2. Then back into Lightroom where I fiddle with the graph for the elegant s curve. Then some other steps, depending. But I never get exactly what I want because I never know what I want. I only know it when I see it. Mostly, it's been luck. Thanks for the other comments on Steve's post; very helpful. Matt
I was going to suggest we start a post on Workflow, but it seems universal so far -
highlights all the way to the left
shadows all the way to the right
blacks and whites up to but not at the edge
Then a very slight touch of clarity for landscapes

It's a good starting point at least! S-
"Take photographs, leave footprints, steal hearts"

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Post by Charles Haacker » Wed Mar 28, 2018 3:05 pm

Matt Quinn wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 12:47 am
Chuck, Your workflow mirrors the one I have been taught. Although Instructor X never suggested but always commanded: highlights all the way to the left, shadows all the way to the right, blacks and whites up to but not at the edge. Then a very slight touch of clarity for landscapes. I have been doing that but lately I have added one step: pop the image into PS and use auto in camera raw filter, then, if it lights up any of the edges, back off in PS, then export back into Lightroom. Then Define. And then SEP2. Then back into Lightroom where I fiddle with the graph for the elegant s curve. Then some other steps, depending. But I never get exactly what I want because I never know what I want. I only know it when I see it. Mostly, it's been luck. Thanks for the other comments on Steve's post; very helpful. Matt
St3v3M wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:42 am
Matt Quinn wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 12:32 am
Steve, One instructor ordered me never to touch the exposure slider. So, in his universe, the black slider would be the choice. Matt
I'm having a hard time with this one, but maybe the instructor didn't change the Exposure Compensation.

Here's the 'problem.' I Developed an image with an EC+2 in Lightroom and moved the Black all the way left. It crushed the Blacks so I tried Shadows and felt the same. I think it's good advice but probably for a well-developed image. S-
St3v3M wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:44 am
I was going to suggest we start a post on Workflow, but it seems universal so far -
highlights all the way to the left
shadows all the way to the right
blacks and whites up to but not at the edge
Then a very slight touch of clarity for landscapes

It's a good starting point at least! S-
I am thinking Instructor X was perhaps a tish too rigid. Now, I've never tried to teach a class in post processing but I've taught quite a few workshops in photography, back in film days, and I tried always to be flexible. I am still a beginner-to-intermediate in Adobe products, especially Lightroom because it was brand new to me only 3 years ago. I've never taken a formal course, on line or classroom, so I rely on (mostly) online tutorials from several sources, but I also spent more than 30 working years in wet darkrooms, mostly B&W but enough color to understand the theory. Digital post-processing is just darkroom without the dark and the chemicals, which is why they called it LIGHTroom. But that is an oversimplification since you can do things in Lightroom that were nearly (or actually) impossible in wet processing, but the experience in wet darkrooms has probably given me a leg up. Most of the folks on this site don't have that so it may make it harder.

The formula highlights all the way to the left/shadows all the way to the right/blacks and whites up to but not at the edge can be a good starting point, but it depends on the image. I use the formula ---- sometimes. It depends. It's basically a preset, and like all presets it may or may not yield a better image than the raw capture. I don't care much for Mr. X's insistence on it. Photography has a lot in common with cooking; you can follow a recipe to the letter and maybe get something like the picture in the cookbook, but there are always departures and workarounds. Cooking is not an exact science nor should it be. Neither is photography.

But of course it helps to know what you want. That's not always easy. I'm a pretty much straight-up documentary guy; I want the picture to look like what I remember, and that may not be exactly what was there. But I will generally discard anything that isn't sharp (within limits); I want the color accurate (white balance); I want detail pretty much everywhere so yes, I will use the highlights-down-shadows-up trick when appropriate; and I want "long scale," usually meaning I want a good black and a good white somewhere in the image, and usually I want the basic exposure to be balanced (Hump of the histogram in the middle). But I cannot be rigid about it. Depending on the light and the subject, maybe pulling the highlights all the way down makes them go gray and muddy --- "flat." Shadows wide open can also be bad, muddy and flat. If the image doesn't look good then the formula must not be working. I have sometimes simply zeroed everything out and started over. I also like to make virtual copies (you can make as many as you like) and tried different things and compared them. 90% of the time some presets will work faaaaaaiiiiirly well (?) but very often they won't. If it doesn't look right to you, it probably isn't.

Matt, I'm trying to puzzle this out:
I have been doing that but lately I have added one step: pop the image into PS and use auto in camera raw filter, then, if it lights up any of the edges, back off in PS, then export back into Lightroom.
I am not sure what exactly you are doing here, but many people do not realize that Lightroom actually IS Camera Raw. Whatever it is you are doing, I suspect you don't need to take it into Photoshop for the Camera Raw filter because, whatever it is, you already have it in Lightroom. You just may not know where it is. If as I suspect you are looking for the clipping indicators, at the top of the histogram there are two little check boxes left and right. If they are unchecked then you will not see the clipping colors (blue for blacks, red for whites). But if you check them then the colors will appear when there is clipping. I leave mine on almost all the time because I like having that warning when something starts to clip because I changed something else, like the exposure. A trick I use when establishing black and white points is to hold down the ALT or OPTION key while clicking on the black or white slider. When you do that, in the white slider the entire image frame literally blacks out; moving the slider to the right the red warning will start to appear in the black frame, stark and no trouble to see. I then back the slider off until the red just winks out and I have established a good white point. When you do the same with the black slider the whole frame goes white, and as you move the black slider to the left the blue warning color starts to appear. I will sometimes leave a very small amount of black clipping for a "base." If that describes something like what you have been doing, you can do it right in Lightroom. :thumbup:
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(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)

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Post by Charles Haacker » Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:16 pm

I think I will try to start a thread on workflow. Mine is (probably never will be) not perfect, but after almost 3 years of experience and many tutorials I feel I have a pretty good grasp, at least to get where I want to be, so I will share where I'm at up to this point (which will evolve). I'm pretty sure no two workers are gonna have the same approach, and I'm convinced that's just fine. I strongly disagree with Instructor X's rigid command approach. Photography is both art and science. I don't think you can make it all one or the other. If you try I don't think the results will be good, and almost certainly not great. (N)
Friends call me Chuck. :photo: This link takes you to my Flickr albums. Please click on any album to scroll through it.
(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)

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Post by St3v3M » Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:57 pm

Charles Haacker wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 3:05 pm
I am thinking Instructor X was perhaps a tish too rigid. Now, I've never tried to teach a class in post processing but I've taught quite a few workshops in photography, back in film days, and I tried always to be flexible. I am still a beginner-to-intermediate in Adobe products, especially Lightroom because it was brand new to me only 3 years ago. I've never taken a formal course, on line or classroom, so I rely on (mostly) online tutorials from several sources, but I also spent more than 30 working years in wet darkrooms, mostly B&W but enough color to understand the theory. Digital post-processing is just darkroom without the dark and the chemicals, which is why they called it LIGHTroom. But that is an oversimplification since you can do things in Lightroom that were nearly (or actually) impossible in wet processing, but the experience in wet darkrooms has probably given me a leg up. Most of the folks on this site don't have that so it may make it harder.

The formula highlights all the way to the left/shadows all the way to the right/blacks and whites up to but not at the edge can be a good starting point, but it depends on the image. I use the formula ---- sometimes. It depends. It's basically a preset, and like all presets it may or may not yield a better image than the raw capture. I don't care much for Mr. X's insistence on it. Photography has a lot in common with cooking; you can follow a recipe to the letter and maybe get something like the picture in the cookbook, but there are always departures and workarounds. Cooking is not an exact science nor should it be. Neither is photography.

But of course it helps to know what you want. That's not always easy. I'm a pretty much straight-up documentary guy; I want the picture to look like what I remember, and that may not be exactly what was there. But I will generally discard anything that isn't sharp (within limits); I want the color accurate (white balance); I want detail pretty much everywhere so yes, I will use the highlights-down-shadows-up trick when appropriate; and I want "long scale," usually meaning I want a good black and a good white somewhere in the image, and usually I want the basic exposure to be balanced (Hump of the histogram in the middle). But I cannot be rigid about it. Depending on the light and the subject, maybe pulling the highlights all the way down makes them go gray and muddy --- "flat." Shadows wide open can also be bad, muddy and flat. If the image doesn't look good then the formula must not be working. I have sometimes simply zeroed everything out and started over. I also like to make virtual copies (you can make as many as you like) and tried different things and compared them. 90% of the time some presets will work faaaaaaiiiiirly well (?) but very often they won't. If it doesn't look right to you, it probably isn't.

Matt, I'm trying to puzzle this out:
I have been doing that but lately I have added one step: pop the image into PS and use auto in camera raw filter, then, if it lights up any of the edges, back off in PS, then export back into Lightroom.
I am not sure what exactly you are doing here, but many people do not realize that Lightroom actually IS Camera Raw. Whatever it is you are doing, I suspect you don't need to take it into Photoshop for the Camera Raw filter because, whatever it is, you already have it in Lightroom. You just may not know where it is. If as I suspect you are looking for the clipping indicators, at the top of the histogram there are two little check boxes left and right. If they are unchecked then you will not see the clipping colors (blue for blacks, red for whites). But if you check them then the colors will appear when there is clipping. I leave mine on almost all the time because I like having that warning when something starts to clip because I changed something else, like the exposure. A trick I use when establishing black and white points is to hold down the ALT or OPTION key while clicking on the black or white slider. When you do that, in the white slider the entire image frame literally blacks out; moving the slider to the right the red warning will start to appear in the black frame, stark and no trouble to see. I then back the slider off until the red just winks out and I have established a good white point. When you do the same with the black slider the whole frame goes white, and as you move the black slider to the left the blue warning color starts to appear. I will sometimes leave a very small amount of black clipping for a "base." If that describes something like what you have been doing, you can do it right in Lightroom. :thumbup:
One of the things I keep hearing over and over is Know Your Lens and Know The Light.

I'm learning so much! S-
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Post by St3v3M » Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:58 pm

Charles Haacker wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:16 pm
I think I will try to start a thread on workflow. Mine is (probably never will be) not perfect, but after almost 3 years of experience and many tutorials I feel I have a pretty good grasp, at least to get where I want to be, so I will share where I'm at up to this point (which will evolve). I'm pretty sure no two workers are gonna have the same approach, and I'm convinced that's just fine. I strongly disagree with Instructor X's rigid command approach. Photography is both art and science. I don't think you can make it all one or the other. If you try I don't think the results will be good, and almost certainly not great. (N)
Let's make sure we add the type of photography the flow works for; studio, landscapes, street, etc. S-
"Take photographs, leave footprints, steal hearts"

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