High Key Photography

High key photography is bright and light colored photographs. It conveys the emotion of happiness.

In general, most of normal pictures contain average tonality, which falls from 0% black to 100% black on a scale. When we consider lightest part of an image as 0% black (which is white) and darkest part as 100% black. However, in case of high key photos, this average tonality is shifted towards brighter side of the scale. So the result is less black, lighter mid tone with light and bright colors and low contrast.

This result has a unique mood. It shows a joyful atmosphere and liveliness. Back ground is mostly white and other colors are light and soft. In terms of black and white photography, we can say it is a white subject shot on a white background.

In order to create a high key photo, shoot in a small room with white walls. Select white back drop. Subject also should be light in color. Main light source should be frontal. It should be large and soft and should wrap the subject with light, so that there is no shadow but just shading. Illusion of depth in the image is formed by delicate shades of mid grey.

Place soft secondary lights to fill in the shadow which should be within one f stop less powerful than the main light, or use big silver reflectors to fill in shadows.

Back drop should be lit with separate brighter light. Compered to the main light, it should be at least 1 1/2 f stop more powerful so that the white is recorded as pure white.

Take all incident light readings with exposure meter or if you are using camera light meter, consider the limitation of the meter as it is reading the reflected light and will give incorrect reading as under exposure, (read more about exposure). So over expose the setting by 1 to 2 f stops to compensate the limitation of camera meter.

To create a true high key image, you must have some small part of the image which should be very dark or black in color. This will indicate that the result is not just over exposure, but it has been properly exposed.

High key photography is opposite of low key where the image is dark and black.

Read more about various subjects of photography

Abstract photography

Aerial photography

Amateur photography

Architectural photography

Baby photography

Bird photography

Candid photography

Child photography

Digital photography tips

Erotic photography

Family portrait

Fashion photography

Fine art photography

Flash photography

Flower photography

Food photography

Food photography tips

Glamour photography

High angle photography

Industrial photography

Infrared photography

Landscape photography

Low angle photography

Macro photography

Model photography

Nature photography

Night photography

Nude photography

Outdoor photography

Outdoor portraits

Pet photography

Photography in direct sun light


Portrait photography

Product photography

Publishing-house photography

Royalty free stock photography

Sports photography

Still-life photography

Stock photography

Street photography

Surreal photography

Wedding photography

Wildlife photography

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