Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Getting in the Mood

by Kelly

It’s all about the light, right?

As photographers we are trained light-seekers who are continually looking for ways to hone our vision.  But in our quest to find the light in our photography, we sometimes tend to overlook or diminish the other side to light…shadow.  Which is unfortunate because these unlit parts of a photograph are often the most intriguing.

In contrast to the light, shadows create conflict and tension and thereby add an element of mystery and drama to our images.

This style of photography is often referred to as Dark or Moody, and it is characterized by high contrast images with deep shadows and/or low light.  And moody photography works well with a variety of subjects – food, nature, still life, portraits, and even everyday photos.

There are many ways to achieve a dark and moody effect in your photos.  The simplest way I have found is to underexpose my shot.  In the image below, I underexposed this scene by two-thirds of a stop.

There are also a number of ways to get this look in your photos through post-processing.

In the photo above, I deepened the shadows, boosted the contrast, and increased clarity in Lightroom.

So this month at Focusing on Life, we encourage you to get into the mood of dark and moody photography.  And be sure to tag your images on Instagram with the #focusingonlife and/or share them with us in our Flickr pool.

Let the shadows point you to the light.  Let the shadows help you tell the story of the light.

Until next time,



AFishGirl said...

You had me at the sink shot. Swoon. I am a big fan of underexposing sometimes. It's such a different look and feeling. Now I want to see you do a series in B&W that is wide angle, includes people, and is underexposed. I want to see the Kelly shot of that. We could go to France to get it and be all Cartier-Bressonish. I leap the puddle, you shoot.

kelly said...

@fishgirl...challenge accepted. :) big smoochy hugs! xoxo

terriporter said...

Kelly, you do "dark and moody" better than anybody I know! And your beautiful photos are inspiring me to give it a try. That strawberry shot especially . . . so gorgeous! Off to look for the shadows.

Cathy H. said...

These are stunning! My favorite is the first one, with the hydrangea flowers. You are excellent at both ends of the scale; dark or light! I'll be honest. I've never tried underexposing a picture on purpose. I will definitely be trying that! There is just so very much to learn and so many ways to take pictures. My mind stays pretty boggled by it all!

kelly said...

@terri @cathy - thank you friends for the kind words! can't wait to see the photos you take!

Carol said...

Mine is definately the dog shot! Every curl on that adorable pooch is highlighted (surprisingly) by the dark! I dont do much of this type of shooting -but I am inspired!!

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