I like vibrant images with lots of depth. This look is achieved by variation in contrast between light and shadow. The epitome of this high contrast look is often found in the graphic novel genre that is so popular these days.
Here is a "typical" image with nice contrast:
These images denote good lighting, evoke strong emotion, and allow you to really see what the actress is thinking.
It's a good image with a very nice "film look."
And I try to recreate a similar look and feel when I edit photos and light sets.
But today I saw an example of the opposite used in the same film that the still above was taken from:
In the context of the movie, I actually like this second image better. It conveyed the emotion of the scene very well. And what struck me was that I would not have been happy with it on set. I would have asked to move the actress, or shut the blinds a little, or something... anything to keep from having such a "flat" image.
I guess the lesson that I need to learn from today is this: Don't let your preference for a particular way of doing something--or even what you have been taught is the "right way" to do something--blind you to other, better possibilities.
Your Media Production Mentor