A couple days ago, I uploaded one of the photos below to two different sites and people commented on the “high key” quality. High key? What’s that? I looked it up and found the following on photo.tutsplus.com:
“High key photography uses unnaturally bright lighting to blow out most or all harsh shadows in an image. High key methods were originally developed as a solution to screens that couldn’t properly display high contrast ratios, but has developed into more of a stylistic choice.
High key images usually convey a positive or upbeat tone. This method is perfect for a subject that is funny, lighthearted or beautiful.”
The site continues with a lengthy discussion on expensive studio lighting and how to achieve the look.
I’m here to tell you that you can do it for nothing. All I use is a bright sunny window, a white tablecloth and a piece of white canvas (or paper) to light up the side that’s in shadow. You can use Lightroom or Picnik or Picasa (the latter two are free) to boost the exposure if you can’t get the light you want with a wide-open aperture and slow shutter speed. Play around with the settings until you get the look you want. Shooting on manual is a must, because the camera will say “no way” to this on automatic.
I’ve shot these teacups before, but tried a couple different combos for fun:
The pink in the background is a row of azaleas in bloom outside the dining room window.
Here’s an example in black and white. I brightened this with levels and curves in Lightroom. Just have fun with it.
OK, have a great weekend, everyone!
Those are really pretty, I love the composition!
I had never heard the term high key photography so that was a nice lesson. I always love the lighting of your photography so you didn’t really need any insight 🙂
Thanks, Mindy. 🙂
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Thanks for the lesson this morning. I can’t wait to try some pictures like these. Your pastel shots are some of my favorites or should I refer to them as “High key” from now on. Love learning something new especially something I can do without any more cost.
“Pastel” is fine! I’m an amateur, so don’t have a lot of fancy equipment. I also avoid flash like the plague, but many use it beautifully.
High key, aha… Well they certainly are nice and it seems as if one can achieve a lot by being inventive and creative without expensive equipment. I really like that. The little one looks like a dog in a film still.
That’s my little Rocky. 🙂
I thought so. It does look like a film still… He is cute in color and black and white.
More photos of Rocky, please. 🙂
He’s not into modeling at all, but will occasionally put up with my camera!
I just love these photos – beautiful colours. They’d make great canvases in a kitchen 🙂
Thank you! They are fun to photograph, that’s for sure.
I really like that 1st one, it looked so elegant. the dog picture is also great
Thank you. 🙂
Thanks for the pointers, Carole. I use Picasa and Piknik … but was given Photoshop Elements as a gift, which I’ve loaded and am about to try. Beautiful images as always! Cheryl
You will LOVE Elements, Cheryl!