Hello photographers and students,
So lets discuss contrast in digital photography, (shortly though). I see many students and some enthusiasts using lets say HDR software to produce unrealistic photographs, which is a process that's over done and a very deep teaching. Then in post processing they will push the contrast slider too far and on top of the destructive HDR process, especially using plugh-ins. This has several undesirable effects, especially rendering blacks and shades of black entirely too dark. Most thinking this allows the colors to stand out and too the eye it will. However one of the negative effects is to push the image into the sort of silhouette looking mode. My students always ask "should I under-expose or over-expose" ? Well, that depends on the scene and lighting of course. For landscapes I like to over-expose a tad as not to loose detail in the shadows, then work the image in post, most software will allow control over just blacks/grays, etc.
So my point is don't grab the contrast slider and push it into oblivion ! Use the light, keep it light and get the contrast right in the camera exposure. Also most modern camera's will let you set contrast levels in the camera settings to save specifics for specific types of images.
We all know many of you use Flickr, Smug Mug, Google and other social sites to post in. Of course you will get great accolades no matter what you post there by most of your contacts, they want one in return. However if you look at the really great images on those sites, you will see that blacks and shades of grays are balanced. Over contrasting your images in post will actually make you image appear less detailed.
So heed my suggestions, give it a fair try and see if your photo's don't thank you for it!
Shoot till your cards full and have fun!