Yesterday I wrote about Clipping the Highlights. Today I am going to talk about underexposing the shadows. Most times blowing out the highlights is not the goal. We want to capture as much data as possible. With that said it's sometimes ok to have the highlights blown. Sometimes it's ok to have the shadows underexposed. It's really up to the photographer, but I am here to tell you it's ok to have the highlights blown, or underexposed shadows. When capturing a scene with a bright background like a sunset. The sun will be the brightest thing. Often times this will underexpose the foreground producing a silhouette. There are times when this is desirable and sometimes it's not. In todays photography it seems there is a desired result to have every part of the scene "properly" exposed. I am sometimes guilty of this, but I am here to tell you it's ok to clip your shadows! Check out the image below.
The Main subject is the milky way. Our mind knows what the silhouetted objects are. I could have bracketed to bring out more detail in the trees, but since our mind already knows, there was no need. Also I made the decision, that to brighten up the trees, would also take away and distract attention from my subject.
Like Clipping the Highlights, clipping or underexposing the shadows, is not always a bad thing. In fact it can be a good thing! Try it out and see what you can create!