Originally developed as a solution for technological reasons – specifically for screens that couldn’t handle displaying high contrast ratios – high-key photography makes use of lighting and contrast (or the lack of it) to create an upbeat mood.
Unnaturally bright lighting is deliberately chosen to blow out most or all harsh shadows in a photograph, maintaining a homogenous lighting to highlight only the subject. This stylistic choice of lighting works incredibly well for both colour and black-and-white photos.Watch this space today for some stunning high-key images and to learn how they were made!
When the overcast sky is brooding in nuances of grey, photographing your subject of interest could be challenging because of gloomy light. High-key lighting is the best option in this scenario – when the subject is against a dull sky. You can deliberately overexpose the sky into a white background and hence expose your subject properly. Here, the spectacular bird that the resplendent quetzal is, is captured in all its stunning colours with the right exposure set on it, and by overexposing the sky which is its background.
Another way of making high-key images is by using a multi-flash setup. Making images of the tiny little hummingbirds in a place like Costa Rica in natural light or with only one flash isn’t an easy task. The cloudforests are usually sombre and the light isn’t always sufficient to capture the lovely physical details of a hummingbird. A great solution to photograph them is to use of multi-flash technique. By setting up several flashes around a hummingbird feeder or flowers, you can make breathtaking images such as this one. Even the wing-flutter of a hummingbird can be frozen into frames with all the stunning details pronounced as they are.
If your imagination is already aroused into new creative possibilities of photography. especially to make images of the birds of Costa Rica, join our upcoming Costa Rica Photography Tour to translate them into reality!
To make high-key images, choose the evaluative/matrix metering mode and apply generous positive exposure-compensation, OR choose spot metering and define the spot as your subject, and use a little or no exposure compensation, depending on the situation. This long-crested eagle was captured using high-key technique in Tanzania, Africa.
Know more about the various photography opportunities on this Wildlife Photography Tour here!
To learn more about high-key images, low-key images, and other basic and advanced concepts of photography, visit our Academy to learn more about our upcoming Art and Science of Photography Workshops in Bengaluru and Mumbai!