Shooting for highlight

Shooting Highlights

Shooting for Highlights; Processing for Shadows 

Digital cameras are excellent, and the technology is improving almost every day! However, digital cameras have their weak spots as well. One of their weak spots is clipping the highlights. Ergo, shooting for highlights solves part of this weakness.

What is “Clipping Highlights”?

Generally speaking, digital cameras are inclined to lose the data of the highlighted area of the scene very quickly, if the exposure is not correct for the bright part of the scene. In other words, digital images do not have enough data in brightness unless shooting for highlights. Hence, it is almost next to impossible to restore any data from the clipped highlights.

On the other hand, digital cameras store more data from the shadow (dark) part of the scene. Therefore, it is effortless to restore the data from the shadow. Here are some examples:

Shooting for Highlights

shooting for highlights
Shooting for Highlights makes the overall image a little darker.

In the above photo, I set the exposure for the sky. The picture looks under-exposed. However, in post-processing, I can quickly restore the data from the foreground (shadows).

The image below is the edited version.

Shooting for Highlights, Editing for Shadows

shooting for highlights
By post-processing the photo, I brought back the details from the shadows.

Therefore, all I did in post-processing, was restoring the data from the shadows. Notice how much information was there in the foreground.

How about Shooting for Shadows?

If the data in the highlighted area is not crucial for your photo, it would be the best solution. The picture will look brighter and does not need any post-processing. However, you are not able to restore any information from the highlighted area. Here is a sample:

Shooting for Shadows

shooting for highlights
setting the exposure for shadows makes the image brighter.

In this photo, I was interested in the foreground (the photographers). I set the exposure for the front; therefore, I lost the details from the sky.

I cannot restore the information from the sky in the post-processing. Here is the image after editing:

Shooting for Shadows, Editing for Highlights

Shooting for Highlights
Shooting for Shadows and Editing for Highlights is not successful.

As you can see in the above photo, trying to restore the data in the sky just made the overall image darker and not pleasing.


If the details in highlights are essential for your photo, You need to shoot for the highlights and edit for the Shadows. However, if the data in the Shadows are more important for the picture, you need to sacrifice the details of the highlight.

Do you want to learn more?

If you are interested to learn more about Highlights and Shadows and learn how to modify them, there are two workshops for you:

Chasing Shadows and Highlights

Chasing Highlights and Shadows is an advanced photography workshop. It covers all significant aspects of successful photography.

Chasing Shadows and Highlights workshop is on three consequent Saturdays. Each class consists of 2 hours classroom session in the morning following by a 3-hour field trip in the afternoon. This workshop is a 15-hour workshop in total, with lots of practical and hand on experiences.

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Lightroom Training Program

Post-processing is another main area in photography. Learning photo editing opens up new doors for you to create amazing pieces of art using your photos. Lightroom Training Program is an introductory Lightroom workshop to showcase the power of Lightroom Library and Develop Modules.

Learn how Lightroom Library Module can be the best assistant in your photography projects.

In Develop Module, you learn how to do basic editing to enhance images.

Lightroom Training Program is a 3-day workshop with lots of hands-on and practical examples in photo management and editing.

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Omnilargess Training Program

Upcoming Photography Classes


Event Venue Date
Landscape Photography Workshop Maple Ridge Dyke
  • September 23, 2023 8:00 am
Beginner's Guide to Photography Backbone Office
  • October 7, 2023 9:00 am
  • October 20, 2023 3:00 pm
Online Lightroom Course Virtual Classroom
  • November 15, 2023 6:00 pm
Full Day Camera Course Backbone Office
  • November 18, 2023 9:00 am

That is all for now. Stay tuned for my next photography Tips. We love to hear from you. Let us know if you have any questions, feel free to send us your questions, and we will be more than happy to answer them. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more Free Tutorials and Tips.

Ted and the Omnilargess Team

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