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The most common portrait mistake we see is underexposing because of backlighting. Here’s how to be sure you nail it. Check out our LR book at …


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  1. I’m not sure why you’re saying to “stop under exposing portraits” when you just showed us in this video the benefits of under exposing, which, in many cases gives us more data to work with in situations like you’re showing.

  2. What's the reason you always have to over expose the portrait if you got a great background then your eyes not only draw on the portrait but it also draws on the background as well

  3. I don't check or pay attention to the histogram my eyes are the histogram and I see the pic of how I want it to be. And I do under expose for the same reasons cus I don't want blown out highlights. With post you can just bring up the shadows and does a great job.

  4. You were able in all examples to recover detail in the highlights BECAUSE you underexposed the face/subject and exposed the bright background correctly. If you had taken the picture overwxposed and exposed for the face then you wouldn't be able to recover as much detail. You need to give that example, too. It's not the same doing it in lightroom.

  5. Tony I like your videos but I've noticed you keep getting a lot of sounds created from that mic stand vibrating from being clamped on the table; just use a floor boom stand and the problem will go away.

  6. Of course you underexpose with digital and positive film.

    With negative film you expose for the shadows and develop for the highlights.
    With positive film and digital cameras you expose for the shadows.

    Its also common sense once you figure out how negative and positive film works, can't understand why this gets 12k upvotes

  7. OK, it's 4:30 AM in NJ. I cannot get back to sleep. Coffee and my Mac. I go to my subscribed channel on YouTube. Found your tutorial on portraits. I did not know you could crop and change on just the cropped section and then un crop.

  8. A beautiful shot anyway. Great educational video and advice. People do underexpose or overexpose their shots. Most people need to learn to do such basic thing before monkeying around with high end gear. I see a lot of mistakes professionals do while shooting medium format, say, 80 megapixels. We all need to watch out for basics. A bit of nitpicking here — Sorry. Artistically there's too much highlight on the nose in the exposure-corrected image. So I like the darker image more but the hair is dark and no detail in it, which should be corrected. More sophisticated photoshopping ould correct all that. For example there's some highlight in the left (right) eye from the flash which can be improved on (much easier during the setup than in post). Great video. It's just me probably nitpicking unfairly as I always do. Nothing is ever perfect for me.

  9. i allways take a picture with the subject,
    ask to subject to step out of the frame,

    get the background looking the way i want,
    , combine the two,
    get the best of both worlds,
    If that is not possible,
    develop one for back ground one for fore ground, combine.
    perfection is photoshop!

  10. Great video. If you spot meter on the face those problems won't happen. Make sure you use AE lock button! Clipping of some highlights in background are insignificant. For portraits the face is critical and by not shooting hot enough for the face more noise will be in the face when you have to bring it up in post.

  11. I've always been afraid to expose for the face since the background would be blown out. So I always exposed for the background and fixed it in post. But I guess I'll change that

  12. I have a external flash that I can adjust way down to just about nothing . Is it better to use a flash set at just enough power to put a little light on the face and expose for the back ground ? I thought that its always better to under expose if your going to use lightroom because I read that its easier for the program to make a dark photo lighter but if its to bright you can't make it darker because the pixels don't have color to them . If this is true then why take a chance on making it brighter when you are taking the shot ? To me you kind of show this in the first photo when you show the underexposed photo and made it look right by just exposing the face and lowering the background a little . All the ones you show with the correct exposure of the face the background stayed blown out , so the underexposed face turned out better . You should have titled the video ( Keep underexposing portraits with a bright background )

  13. I learn so much from this channel !!! Not just reviews but explaining the real important concepts. I am always a bit worried about blowing out the sky.

  14. …and this is why every skilled portrait photographer who knows what they are doing has a handheld light meter and knows how to use it. The one in your camera sucks. This is also a great example of what not to do when shooting a portrait. A skilled portrait shooter also has a flash or strobes with them. Model in shade shooting into the sun is a big no no, unless you have a flash or strobes to overpower the sun behind her, or you like the look of flat lighting of course. If you dont have a light, you want to put her in that sun light and use it as a hair light and have an assistant or two with diffusers to catch any harsh light spilling on to her. I know you are better than this and probably just did this to make this video but its just a lazy shot with terrible lighting that no experienced portrait shooter would ever take, sorry.

  15. Thank you! I was a bit confused about this. Using zebras and exposing for highlights. But I guess it only makes sense if zebras are showing on the subjects face. I tried to preserve the background as well and got dark fotos. 🙂

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