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Hi Nitin,

I love your treatment of this image. The use of the slow shutter speed (1/15th of a second) to illustrate the movement and the use of a wider framing it is all very good.

Having photographed enough situations like this in my career, I know that you have to make a lot of decisions in a hurry in these situations. Do you use a tripod or shoot hand-held. Should I get higher so that I can see more of the shadows on the ground or should I get low and shoot up at the action.

And then there is the post-production treatment. Should I let the highlights blow out or should I try and preserve the shadow and highlight details.

Personally, I prefer to see some detail in the highlight areas. If you are shooting in RAW mode (and I hope you are) then, in a situation like this, I would be underexposing enough to make sure you capture the highlights. It is easier to save the highlights if you have exposed for them, than to try to recover the highlights if you have overexposed. In a situation like this, the simplest way of underexposing while maintaining your creative settings is to decrease the ISO, in this instance from from 100 to 64 ISO.

Having maintained the highlights, there are several ways you can manage them. In this instance I would use an adjustment brush in Adobe Camera Raw (or similar) to brush back the highlights with one of the tone adjustment tools. There are a few options you can apply, but one of my favourite techniques is to pull back on the Contrast (use a negative value like -20) and then also pull back on the Clarity, again using a negative value (try about -15). Now use the Exposure tool on this same brush to ensure that the highlights are not too bright but also not too dark. Use this same brush to hold back some of the highlights in the background of the picture too (that sign in the middle top of the picture is very distracting).

Once you have tempered the highlights you can now create a new brush to select the dancers and bring some contrast and brightness back into the main scene. This is where it all becomes a bit of a creative dance. In honesty, you could give this Raw file to a dozen different professional photographers and you would probably get a dozen different results. And that is why I love photography, because every photograph usually presents its own unique challenges.

Hope this is a help.



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