What I see most in beginner shooters is many fail to realize how important exposure is as a tool for perfecting their vision. For example, fashion shooters will slightly overexpose skin tones to eliminate imperfections. Landscape artists will often underexpose to gain more saturation and keep the highlights in check.
|Keeping the highlights in check and allowing the image to move towards a darker spectrum adds intrigue to the photograph.|
When looking at photographs, your eye either goes to the brightest or the sharpest spot in an image first. This is a useful tool when creating photographs. You can direct your audience to the subject you want them to see by being aware of these factors. For example, you are out photographing a herd of wild horses in a lovely green meadow. However, the sky is quite overcast. The light on the horses is beautiful and rich. But, when you include the sky, the sky gets blown out. When people look at that photograph, their eye goes to the sky first. We don't want them looking there! We want them to see that gorgeous light on the horses. You need to aim your camera down and eliminate as much of the sky as possible.
|The graphic design of the wood in this scene in Dogpatch, Arkansas was powerful all by itself. But, the white goat was the hook for me. Drawing attention to it by underexposing the scene balanced the whimsical mood.|
|The highlights of the railroad rails gleaming allowed me to darken the entire image and not lose out on the design the rails created in this image. The oily soil and red engine just popped, even in the darkness.|
|Shooting directly towards the sun with the intent of clarifying the tools used in cutting the ice. Here, a dark exposure defined the ice cutting operation. The viewer gets an immediate perspective of the size of the saws and work involved.|
Feel the light. What do you want to say with your image?