I read an article called Expose (to the) Right, which explained why you should try to get the graph of the histogram as much to the right of the scale as possible. The reasoning is that DSLRs record much more detail in bright areas of the subject than in darker areas.
You could then stop back in your photo editing tool to a "normal" correct exposed picture but with reduced noise and more range than if you'd done the shot with the "normal" correct exposure up front.
That all makes sense to me, but in the end the author quotes someone else stating:
For film based photography, the highlight end of the scale is compressed by the shoulder portion of the D/log E curve. So as brighter and brighter objects are photographed, the highlight detail gets gradually compressed more and more until eventually the film saturates. But up until that point, the highlight compression progresses in a gradual fashion.
Solid state sensors in digital cameras behave very differently. As light falls on a sensor, a charge either accumulates or dissipates (depending on the sensor technology). Its response is well behaved right up until the point of saturation, at which time it abruptly stops. There is no forgiveness by gradually backing off, as was the case with film.
Because of this difference, setting up the exposure using an 18% gray card (as is typically done with film) does not work so well with a digital camera. You will get better results if you set your exposure such that the whitest white in the scene comes close to, but not quite reaching, the full digital scale (255 for 8-bit capture, 65535 for 16-bit capture). Base the exposure on the highlight for a digital camera, and a mid-tone (e.g. 18% gray card) for a film camera.
So … how do I do a meter reading for a DSLR if not from a gray card? My DSLR metering will always try to make my image gray, right? How can I avoid this, to make images which are "exposed to the right"?