Exposing to the right (often refferred to as ETTR) is a technique that seems to polarise opinions across the internet so you can find plenty of examples of people supporting its use and an equal number of people claiming it adds no value. The principles of the technique however do hold value and are valid to consider when out taking images. As it is a technique that I regularly employ when photographing landscapes I wanted to share the reasoning behind it, and show an example of the benefit it can bring.
The term ‘expose to the right’ refers to the histogram associated with an image. Typically, for a shot to be well exposed, we are taught to aim for an even spread of tones across the histogram, peaking in the middle, and tapering off at the edges. When ‘exposing to the right’, the idea is to push the peak of the histogram as far to the right hand side as possible, i.e. overexpose the image, without clipping any highlights. The resulting file, when processed back to the correct exposure, will contain more tonal information and less noise in the shadow areas, maximising your image quality. [read]