ETTR: Instantly Improve Your Photographs

How? If your camera can save the image as a raw file, set your camera to ETTR (expose to the right). If your camera can only save .jpg photos ETTL (expose to the left).

Fishing-ettr06-sOver expose your image? Here's an extreme example. When I took this photo of the fishing platforms on the Deschutes River just north of Maupin I had just switched lenses, and the camera was still set on the last used setting; shutter priority at 1/30th of a second. Oh, oh... There was no detail in the highlights.

The Photoshop CS family and Photoshop Elements comes with a FREE plug-in, a program designed specifically for photography called Camera Raw.

Using just 2 sliders in Photoshops Camera Raw and highlight details that normally would be lost are miraculously recovered.


CameraRawHere's the proof of the pudding...

Using just two sliders

  1. Exposure and
  2. Recovery
Recovered details in the highlights in a photograph that would normally discarded or deleted...

There is a technical reason that causes ETTR to work. The brightest stop in the camera's sensor stores 1/2 of the total tonal range of the image... In other words Suffice it to say, "that's where the data is!" ETTR!

Caveat
If your camera only save files in .jpg format (Usually small consumer point and shoot cameras) -- then ETTL. Set the camera to Slightly under expose the photo. JPG is a lossy format, and throws away data with no chance of recovery if you go the other way and over expose the photo!