Lighting influences the environment of {a photograph}. Excessive-key images are related to upbeat, constructive emotions.

Utilizing one major key gentle and avoiding distinction will help you produce images that convey a cheerful temper. This method is well-liked with wedding ceremony and portrait photographers. It’s additionally usually utilized in elegant promoting campaigns.

How To Make Better High Key Photographs Young Clown

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

What’s your key gentle?

Your major gentle supply is your key gentle. It may be gentle from any supply. The solar on a cloudy day is the very best pure key gentle. Synthetic gentle from a transportable flash, studio strobes or a steady gentle supply may also be used. To infuse the suitable temper, you might be greatest to diffuse the sunshine.

Diffusing your gentle supply scatters the sunshine rays. This reduces the quantity of shadow in your photos. When you have got a robust, softened key gentle, the shadows it casts can be minimal. You need to use extra lights or reflectors to reduce the impact of the shadows much more.

To maximise the good-feeling impact, you might want to produce images with a slim tone vary. The distinction between the darkest and lightest areas in your composition ought to solely be a number of stops. It’s essential to work with the sunshine sources to stability the sunshine ratio.

How To Make Better High Key Photographs Young Woman in the ParkHow To Make Better High Key Photographs Young Woman in the Park

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

What’s fallacious with shadows?

There’s nothing fallacious with shadows, however they will indicate a heavier temper.

Deep shadows in {a photograph} are sometimes related to extra somber emotions. Shadows are sometimes used with nice impact to convey drama, thriller, and suspense.

Onerous edges and excessive distinction limit what a viewer can clearly see in {a photograph}. This lighting method is commonly utilized by photographers and moviemakers to evoke emotions of doubt and distrust.

Management the sunshine and distinction ranges utilizing one subtle key gentle in your major topic. This produces a pleasant feeling.

Utilizing one robust, undiffused gentle produces exhausting shadows in your topic. This usually ends in a darker total feeling.

Man Studio PortraitMan Studio Portrait

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Use high-key gentle with the suitable topic

It’s at all times greatest to think about and management the sunshine you employ to suit greatest along with your topic.

High Key and Low KeyHigh Key and Low Key

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Through the portrait session I had with this younger girl, we needed to create two completely different moods. One gentle and completely satisfied, the opposite extra severe.

For the excessive key photograph, I used a big softbox on my major studio gentle and a smaller softbox on my secondary gentle. This produced a delicate, vibrant wrap round gentle with little shadow. I additionally lit the background with two robust lights so as to add to the completely satisfied environment. Clearly, her radiant smile accomplished the tone of this {photograph}.

Throughout the identical session, I modified the lighting. I used just one gentle and didn’t diffuse it. I additionally turned off the background lights and she or he turned off her smile.

Had I saved the lighting the identical as she posed with the 2 completely different expressions, the temper wouldn’t have been conveyed so properly.

How To Make Better High Key Photographs Cleaning DisputeHow To Make Better High Key Photographs Cleaning Dispute

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

How does the background have an effect on high-key pictures?

I believe the lighter the background is the extra upbeat the sensation of a photograph will be. However light-colored backgrounds would not have for use completely.

In a photograph session with a ceramic artist who needed actually get in contact along with her medium, we produced a sequence of various pictures. Some have been high-key with a lightweight background. Others we made with a darkish background. A few of them I used high-key lighting. In others, I used one undiffused gentle.

How To Make Better High Key Photographs Clean Ceramic artistHow To Make Better High Key Photographs Clean Ceramic artist

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

This was one of many first pictures within the sequence earlier than issues obtained soiled. The high-key lighting mixed with the sunshine background and one other beautiful smile produced a lightweight, completely satisfied portrait.

Muddy Ceramic artistMuddy Ceramic artist

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Dropping in a darkish background and retaining the key gentle the identical. After making use of some mud, it resulted in a enjoyable, relatively uncommon portrait. The temper is actually completely different from the darkish background. The lighting was principally the identical.

Muddy Ceramic artist Close UpMuddy Ceramic artist Close Up

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Eager to create a unique temper, I then used a single, undiffused gentle with a extra gloomy, contemplative pose.

Take note of the shadows

Your key gentle supply will decide the quantity and energy of the shadows in your pictures. It’s essential to pay cautious consideration to the shadows and guarantee they don’t seem to be too darkish. Eliminating or lessening the shadow areas will improve the effectiveness of your high-key pictures.

Utilizing a big, delicate gentle supply produces the least quantity of shadow. This generally is a massive softbox on a studio strobe, as I’ve used within the examples above. It’s also possible to make use of daylight for making high-key images.

On cloudy days or when your topic is within the shade, the shadows will tone down extra. In full, vibrant sunshine, the shadows will be problematic. They are going to be darker and have exhausting edges. This excessive distinction won’t add to the temper you need to create.

Discovering an outside location the place you’ll be able to backlight your topic with the daylight will help produce high-key pictures. In conditions like this, you’ll want a fill gentle, which can act as your key gentle. Though the solar is brighter, the sunshine you add would be the major gentle you need to take your meter studying from.

How To Make Better High Key Photographs Young Asian Woman OutdoorsHow To Make Better High Key Photographs Young Asian Woman Outdoors

Younger Clown

Setting your publicity by this gentle, as I’ve within the photograph above, will end in an overexposed background. I used to be capable of obtain this look due to the white-painted constructions shut by. They have been reflecting gentle again into her face.


As in all types of pictures, working with the sunshine to create the pictures you need is an integral a part of the method. The higher your lighting is, the higher your pictures can be.

Experiment and check out completely different gentle sources to attain a high-key impact. There are not any hard-and-fast guidelines, and you need to work with what you have got. Whether or not you’re in a studio or open air, you’ll face challenges.

How To Make Better High Key Photographs Chicken NerdHow To Make Better High Key Photographs Chicken Nerd

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

In a studio, you might not have sufficient room, lights or diffusers. Be inventive, assume exterior the field somewhat and innovate whenever you need to make high-key pictures.

Do the identical open air with pure gentle. Strive introducing subtle flash to assist stability the sunshine ratio and cut back the shadows. Make use of mirrored gentle bouncing off a wall or constructing. Carrying a fold-out reflector can be one other sensible method to assist subdue the shadows.

How To Make Better High Key Photographs Strawberry CheesecakeHow To Make Better High Key Photographs Strawberry Cheesecake

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Give some thought as to how one can create some high-key pictures utilizing what you have got out there to you. You don’t must {photograph} folks. Meals, nonetheless life and different topics will be introduced properly utilizing excessive key lighting too.

I’d like to see some within the feedback beneath with an outline of the way you made them!



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