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The Practical Zone System for Film and Digital Photography, 6th Edition by Chris Johnson

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chapter threeThe Control of Negative Contrast

In this chapter you will begin to learn principles that provide the keys to quality and control in photographic expression. The Zone System was, of course, created in the era of film, so we will start by examining how these ideas apply to working with negatives, but behind this specific application are universal concepts. Even if you never intend to shoot a roll or sheet of film, you should learn and understand the principles here.

There is a time-honored rule that summarizes the key to consistently better negative quality: Expose for the shadows and develop for the highlights. This means that exposure and development can each independently control different aspects of the negative’s contrast. Let’s ...

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