High-Key Portrait Photography
High-Key Portrait Photography
Throughout the realms of photography, there are a lot of imagery styles to consider when taking your photos. Whether you’re a wedding photographer who provides the service of quirky photo shoots to your clients or a photographer who wants to brush up on a little on their terminology, this is the place for you to learn how to do those things! We like to keep our blog posts fairly informative but light here at Weddit, so feel free to check out our other blog posts if you like what you see here and fancy a further read. But, for today, we are talking about high-key portrait photography. So, let’s get on with the post!
What Is High-Key Lighting? - Let’s begin at the start, high-key lighting is where it’s all at. High-key lighting is a style of lighting, rather than photography and it’s commonly used for film, television, or photography purposes. It aims to reduce the lighting ratio present in the scene of footage, whatever that form of footage may be! You can use soft boxes to achieve this look. This was originally done for technological reasons due to early film and television not dealing with high contrast ratios very well, but now it is used throughout media to suggest an upbeat mood. So, that’s how you’d use it as a wedding photographer!
What Is High-Key Portrait Photography? - Now we’ve talked about high-key lighting, it’s time to discuss high-key portrait photography as a whole. In a nutshell, high key photography uses an unnatural source of bright lighting to blow out most or all harsh shadows in an image. High-key portrait photography was originally developed as a solution for screens that couldn't display high contrast ratios properly, but today high-key portrait photography has developed into more of a stylistic choice than a solution from behind the camera. Do you follow?
There is actually such a things as low-key lighting photography, but, to brush over this briefly, high-key lighting photography is an excellent choice for colored images as well as monochrome photographs. Within low-key photography, lighting is reduced in order to produce images with striking contrasts, dark tones, and shadows. Usually, a single source of lighting is used throughout this style of imagery. So, hopefully after reading this you’ll know a bit more about the difference between high-key and low-key photography and of course what they entail.
Top Tips - High-key photography also has a bit of a reputation for being partnered with a white backdrop. A bright, white background creates a high energy, happy, and distraction free scene, perfect for pictures of your friends and family and that’s why it’s perfect for shooting a wedding! Besides being a popular choice for portrait photographers, high-key photography is more of a modern choice, rather than traditional, but regardless of that, we have some top tips that we’d like to share with you about high-key portrait photography and how you can achieve this style of imagery:
• Use a solid white backdrop for your images
• Use natural sunlight to shoot with
• Always use flash photography
• Avoid too much exposure
High-key photography is challenging because it requires you to create an intentionally overexposed white backdrop while still exposing your subject. Once you learn how to use exposure compensation and light your background, you’ll be able to create perfect white backgrounds in just a few minutes every single time and this would be a great technique to use throughout your wedding shoots! We’ve written a fair amount of content here at Weddit on various photography styles, why not check out our blog post on reportage photography?
Photo + editing credit: All images in this blog post edited by the team here at Weddit and photographed by Lukas Griffin. To get started with our wedding photo editing service, you can create an account here.