While a strong contrast between light and shadow would make for a dramatic image, I wanted the viewer to see my subject as an interested, personable subject. Reducing the contrast between the highlights and the shadows helps to produce an image that is more easily reproduced, since it will usually pick up some contrast when published.
During our conversation, my subject's hands naturally fell into this pose. His direct, friendly demeanor started to show in his face, so I decided to have the subject set the mood with his eyes and his smile, and leave the hands alone. I believed that the hands showed a willingness to listen, a gesture suggesting that he would wait until you had finished talking before offering an opinion of his own.
I wanted to reduce the contrast still further by adding some light from below. this would reduce the shadows under his hands and hopefully add a catchlight to his eyes. After an unsuccessful attempt to utilize a third speedlight, I placed a Lastolite Tri Grip reflector on the table in front of the subject. In point of fact, his elbows are actually resting on the reflector, holding it in place. Coming from below, the reflector did not add any glare of its own, but did a nice job in filling in the shadows.
In post production, I cropped the image to an 8 X 10" aspect ratio, adjusted the levels very slightly, and burned in (darkened) the hands and the borders of the photo. As a final touch, I dodged the catchlights in the eyes to brighten them. The final photo, Photo #1, is at the top of the page.
Looking back, I'm still happy with the image, but would have liked to experiment with more directional lighting. This was really not an option because most of my efforts were centered on reducing the glare from his eyeglasses. Surely there are other ways to address this, but this turned out to be a very acceptable compromise.
If you look at this photo and believe this is somebody you'd like to share a cup of coffee with, I will consider my job properly done.