I posted this image a few days ago and one of my readers wrote a 3,200 word expose on how I was a horrible photographer because his high school photography teacher (Yep I am being schooled by a 17-year-old) told him that under NO circumstance should you ever fail to expose for detail in the highlights.
Sorry junior – but your high school photography teacher is wrong – if that is indeed what he said. Sometimes it’s just absolutely, positively okay to let the highlights go. I happen to think this photo is a perfect example of that.
The idea of the shot was simple. This was a model posing as a vampire set against a typical Louisiana living room wall, vis a vis “True Blood.” We had two Spiderlite TD5 Light Heads to light the scene from the right and left. Each was used without light modifier as a “bare bulb.” We had one addition Spiderlite TD5 Light Head in a softbox as the main overhead.
Since the model was supposed to be a super-natural being and oh yeah – dead – I thought that in addition to the great make-up job designed to make a pretty girl look dead and menacing, overexposing would help tell the story even better. So that’s what I did. This is about one and one-half stops too hot. There’s detail where you need it, but everywhere else the highlights go waaaaaaay past 255 and I am totally fine with that.
I am not saying you should do this all the time. I am saying that when you can articulate with specificity, a good reason to let the highlights go – no worries.
Do understand the rules. Do understand why and how you want to break them. But don’t be constrained by them. I understand that not everyone will like my interpretation of this shot. But that’s okay. I liked it. The model liked it. The makeup artist liked it. That’s good enough for me even if the high school photography teacher doesn’t like it.