Highlight and Shadow

I love this photo for a simple reason that it has strong highlight and shadow. It also tells a story of two men engaged in a serious conversation. Look at the hand gesture of the man on the right. The man on the left was listening while seriously looking at his notebook.

I saw these two men on the second floor of the Shivaji Nagar Market. The man on the left seemed to be the vegetables agent and the one the left seemed to be the customer, which could be a retail seller. When I first saw this scene, I was immediately attracted to it because of the sunlight coming in from the two windows and the shadow on the floor and on part of the men.

It’s important to take the exposure metering from the right spot in this kind of photo.
If you take the exposure reading off the shadow, such as the floor or the face of the men, you will see the faces of the two men clearly, but you will kill the mood of the photo as you will lose the shadow and the entire image will be too bright. See below. I simulated in Adobe Lightroom as if the exposure reading was taken off the shadow.

And if you take the exposure reading off the highlight in the window, the image will turn out too dark.

So, what I did was I took the exposure reading off the wall just below the window on the right hand side. I got the photo I wanted, shot with Leica M9 and Leica Summarit f/2.5 lens at ISO 400.

This is also the kind of photo that you do not want to use flash. I almost never use flash anyway, but if you do, try not to over use it by ‘killing’ all the shadows. Let the shadow and highlight be there to create depth and mood.

Keep shooting, everyone.

"A photographer and a memory keeper (a.k.a junks collector) who finally decided to quit his day job in 2017 after two decades to focus full time on photography. Check out also his outdoor children, family and pet photography work at masakecil.com.

In 2010, this website won the Singapore Best Photography Blog Award."

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