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!