Crushed blacks

Reduced detail in the shadow areas of an image caused by under-exposing the image.

A photograph may be described as overexposed when it has a loss of highlight detail, that is, when important bright parts of an image are "washed out" or effectively all white, known as "blown-out highlights" or "clipped whites". A photograph may be described as underexposed when it has a loss of shadow detail, that is, when important dark areas are "muddy" or indistinguishable from black, known as "blocked-up shadows" (or sometimes "crushed shadows", "crushed blacks", or "clipped blacks", especially in video). As the adjacent image shows, these terms are technical ones rather than artistic judgments; an overexposed or underexposed image may be "correct" in the sense that it provides the effect that the photographer intended. Intentionally over- or underexposing (relative to a standard or the camera's automatic exposure) is casually referred to as "exposing to the right" or "exposing to the left" respectively, as these shift the histogram of the image to the right or left.

Crushed blacks
Adapted from content published on
  • Image By marya - originally posted to Flickr as chairs, CC BY 2.0 — from
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