Why So Blue?
Blue, because I hit the big fat blue button in Photoshop. 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 and something I love to play around with.
High key images usually convey a positive or upbeat tone. This method is perfect for a subject that is funny, lighthearted or beautiful. High-key lighting found its use in classical Hollywood cinema because it was well suited for three-point lighting and other filmmaking traditions. It is an overall lighting design which uses the fill light and backlight to create low contrast between brighter and darker areas. It can be used for both daylight and night scenes
You’ll need plenty of lights for indoor shoots and a decent clean white backdrop in order to achieve that well-sort-after, super-clean high key photograph.
I use a combination of standard umbrella lamps, fluorescent diffused lanterns and two dimmable LED array’s with adjustable barn doors, this setup provides me with enough flexibility to have vibrant low key set as well as achieve the high exposure required for high key photography.
The image above is obviously me playing around in Photoshop and I love the flexibility a high key image provides. With a clean sharp white background I can easily cut out the background to make useful transparent image I can use for promo work and that’s exactly what this phot shoot was for.
Annie is a beautiful, photogenic young lady who is a pleasure to work with and this is one of my fave shots from that session.
I’ll be experimenting this level of light with video soon on one of my music tutorial videos, so look out for that.
Have you done any high key work? If so, please share any tips you may have with our readers in the comments below, thanks.