Tips for High Key and Low Key Photography
High Key Image In Natural Light
It is a modern technique and it was not very popular in the previous generations. High key technique is used to eliminate shadow areas and bringing in more light into the camera to create cheerful and pleasant images; on the histogram, you would find majority of pixels on the highlight zone.
Tips for shooting high key images:
- Select a scene that is appropriate for applying high key technique. The scenes should have lower levels of mid tones and dark tones.
- Identify the subject with bright non-distracting background. You can use the bright sky as the background.
- Over expose the image by 1 or 2 stops.
- Place the focus point on the subject and click the image.
- If you notice any tiny patches or variation in tones in the background, that can be fixed at post processing level.
Low Key Photography
Low key photography is about taking an image of a subject with everything around it dark. A low key photograph has most of the pixels in shadow area, the bigger portion of the image is dark and only the subject or a portion of the subject is well lit. Low key lighting condition creates attractive contrasts and can be taken indoors and in natural lighting conditions as well.
Tips for taking low key image:
- The background should be two to three stops darker than the subject and the background should be in shadow.
- The sunlight should be falling on the subject.
- Set your ISO low to 100 or any lower number available in your camera
- Spot or partial metering mode will be appropriate.
- Underexpose the background by 1 or 2 spots.
- Adjust and control the light flowing into the camera the shadows fall around the subject completely as you have visualised it.
- If there are minor details visible in the background, adjust the level sliders in Photoshop till you get a complete dark background.
Text and images: Saritha Dattatreya