As you get into shooting and editing, you will probably hear photographers talk about blown-out or clipped highlights and shadows. What does it mean to clip something and how does it affect your shooting and editing? This short and easy-to-follow video tutorial will show you what you need to know.
Coming to you from Mike Smith, this great video discusses what it means to clip highlights. And although Smith discusses highlights, the same general principles apply to shadows as well. The design of digital sensors means that they have a finite capture range, and luminance values outside that range will be unable to be captured and result in either no data (a clipped shadow) or an overload of data (a clipped highlight). The practical consequences of this are areas of shadow that cannot be lightened or areas of highlights that cannot be darkened, resulting in blocky patches of black or white that can be particularly ugly or distracting. Because these are issues with the dynamic range of the sensor, you have to be careful to avoid them at the point of capture, which is where tools like the histogram or exposure bracketing can be a big help. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Smith.