2019 P52: Week 49 — High Key Photography

This week’s prompt was a challenging one, trying a style of shooting and processing that was new to me! High Key Photography can be defined as:

a modern lighting technique that is based on using mid-tone greys through to bright whites. The use of bright lights and lighting to eliminate shadow reduced the contrasts in the picture.

Early film was not good at coping with extreme blacks right through to extreme whites and all the shades in between. As a result the lighting was arranged to ensure that the contrasts were reduced. Deep black shadows were removed by the lighting leaving much less variation in the range of brightnesses in a scene.

Today, high key photography lives on as bright light and high light levels. The modern emphasis on whites has become a genre of its own much used in fashion and portrait photography. Modern high key shots typically have a large proportion of whites. White on white shots with only minor tonal variation, is a common and a prominent feature of the high key genre. High key shots today are mostly about high brightness. Special emphasis is put on techniques to light the background as bright white.


I wasn’t about to even attempt this with a portrait, although I’ve seen some beautiful high key portraits. I turned to still life, and some white on white on white holiday decorations.

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