Saturday, April 2, 2011

High Key?!


I finally got around to checking the Scavenger Hunt Sunday challenge list this morning. I was laying on the couch with the hubs and the kiddos reading Ashley's blog on my phone and I was like "what the heck is High Key?!" The hubs - being the source of great wisdom that he is said "why don't you google it?"  The Wikipedia article was very helpful, and so was this one on Photo tuts plus. 

I'm sure a lot of you, my photography friends, already know what high key means - but for those of you, like me who wondered what that meant I thought I'd do a mini-tutorial on high key photography here. 

High key is unnaturally bright with minimal shadows and usually communicates a cheerful mood. It is called "high key" from studio lighting set-ups (from what I gathered from what I read, usually there are three: background light, fill light and key light)  low key is less light, high key is more light. High key photography  usually also has a seamless white background.


What High Key Photography is NOT:

High key photography is not high contrast.

Monday's POTD
High contrast photography has more shadows than high-key.

High key is not just a bright picture 
Josiah 1 week 9-26-07
This photo was post-processed to brighten it and bring the high tones here a true high-key photo has a greater range of color and at the same time less shadows.

How to set up a High Key Photoshoot without using studio lights:
A "proper" high-key photograph would have a seamless back background with soft lights bouncing light of the background, a key light and a fill light - at least. But I don't have one single piece of studio lighting. So here is how I set up my high key photo shoot. Obviously doing this with a larger subject would require a more elaborate set-up but I knew that I didn't have the equipment or the time to make large enough backgrounds and reflectors to do this shoot justice - so I choose a nice small subject - some jelly beans I bough the other day. Starburst are my favorite brand, though I wish they made jumbo size ones. My favorite flavor is the orange ones - I think they remind me of all of those orange tic tacs I ate when I was a little girl. I really like the purple & pink ones too. But I'm getting off-topic

I picked a nice bright spot in my house. I do a lot of photography by this window. Then I placed a nice large piece of poster board on the windowsill to give me a seamless white background.


I set up a nice shiny piece of paper to reflect light back onto my subject. A nice sturdy, stiff paper or poster board work better than a regular sheet of computer paper or bendable computer paper. This was actually an insert from a photo album and it had a shiny protective layer so it worked especially well for bouncing light back onto my subject.


I set my settings to slightly overexpose my image and framed my photo so that none of the edges of the background or reflector showed.


Here is my image SOOC. I do wish that I'd been able to fill in the shadows just a little bit more but I think I did the best I could with what I was working with.

high key jellybeans

Here's my edited version ( in photo shop 7): duplicated background. Changed blending mode for layer style to "soft light". Ran High Pass Filter. Created adjustment layer for lighting and boosted light a little. Adjusted lighting levels to brighten a little.   

Here are a few others:

simple summer joy

love this one

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