Thursday, June 9, 2016


by Linda

This months theme had me at hello. Delicious and dark. Magnificent and moody. Underexposed and under appreciated.

I took these shots walking around my backyard on a sunny morning. Yes, the sun was shinning and there was ample opportunity to photograph objects in full glorious light but what's the fun of that?

I know, sometimes you want to see everything. And clearly. And that is beautiful too. Sometimes you want to let the light be your guide and focus on what the light is showing you and let everything else just fall away.

Isn't that what we want? How many times have you looked through your viewfinder and thought the background was too busy and then raced around trying to remove all that stuff? Sometimes we should let the light define what we photograph. Let the light highlight the beauty of an object and let the camera remove all the things in the background that might distract a viewers eye.

The pictures above were taken with my DSLR, (I have a Canon) in broad daylight. That doesn't mean you can't get the same effect on cloudy days or after sunset. The only difference will be how the light falls in your picture and how much you have to underexpose. With my camera set to Manual mode, I used a 100mm lens set wide open(2.8) and manual focus, underexposed by 1 sometimes 2 stops, auto-white balance, ISO of 200, landscape picture style, spot-metering metering mode.

These pictures were run through Lightroom where I applied Lens Correction (I always do) and added a matte preset.

I love spot-metering metering mode. This mode will expose for the area you decide to focus on. With my camera in manual mode, I control the shutter speed, I use the light meter that shows up in my viewfinder to determine whether I want to expose "correctly" or not. Because I am a rebel, I rarely expose correctly, underexposing gives me something that makes me happy. Spot-metering metering mode can create a dark and moody picture without underexposing. Because I was taking pictures on a bright, sunny day, I had to underexpose dramatically to compensate for the brightness.

I have created dark and moody pictures with my phone camera. It is mostly done in post processing. You have to be careful about the area that is in the light because it could look like just a white spot once you're finished editing. A few apps that I have had fun using to create dark and moody are Snapseed and Stackables. Both are easy and I have had amazing results. My favorite dark and moody app is VSCO. You can use the VSCO camera or import from your camera roll. I used VSCO for the above picture.


Give it a try!



Dotti said...

What a great tutorial with wonderful illustrations! And you're so right - using dark and moody is a fabulous way to get rid of unwanted background clutter. I did a few dark and moody shots last night and this morning and hope to get them up on our Flickr page. Although I wasn't drawn naturally to this type of photography when it first started appearing, I find myself being drawn in. It's another tool for the camera bag and that's a good thing.

kelly said...

oh these photos linda. i love how this type of photography is a subtle invitation to bring the viewer in. thank you for sharing the invitation. xo

Cathy H. said...

This is very helpful! I haven't tried dark and moody yet. I'm headed out in the morning to a botanical garden. I'm going to try this. Thanks so much!

terriporter said...

I have never been a fan of "dark and moody" -- give me light and color! But then I began seeing other photographers using this technique and was intrigued. I do love the way it draws the viewers eye to just what you want them to see and the way you can unclutter the background by leaving it in the dark. After reading this post, I am determined to give this a try!

AFishGirl said...

Gorgeous! Thanks for the helpful tips in this. I really like this whole dark and moody thing. Enjoying the shots I'm seeing a lot.

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