High Key

High Key has got to be the most over used and improperly used term in photography!  I could go into what real high key photography is, but what fun would it be to always give you the answers? So that’s your home work for the week, find out what REAL high key photography is. Here’s a hint “contrast” here’s another hint “light”

For this tut, we’ll use this “high key” photo, to get a good all white backdrop. This photo is NOT high key, but all white, but whatever. Traditionally, high key photos are taken with a three light setup, two on the backdrop and one on the subject. High key images are used to convey happy thoughts, times and emotions.

For this shoot, it was the end of the shoot and I was tired and ready to go. I set up one light on the model and one on the backdrop. If we look at the photo, we’ll see that the camera right side of the photo, has more light, i.e. the light was positioned on the camera right side of the backdrop. As the photo moves to the left, the light concentration wears off and it turns grey:

 (I cropped this photo since its a tut. Don’t want too much work ya know) Also look at the camera left side of the photo, you can see where my 9footer wasn’t quite long enough.

First thing we need is to figure out how much white we’re going to do? To use 255 is too white, so lets take our eye dropper and click on a white of the backdrop:

You should come up with hex number fafafb

Make a NEW LAYER and grab your brush, make sure it’s set to normal and PAINT OVER THE IMAGE ALL WHITE!!

Now comes step 1 of two important steps, click the “Add layer mask” button!

Important step 2 of 2, drop the Opacity of the white layer to about 54%

Now click on your brush and make sure the box is set to black.

Start to color over the person and prop on the photo. Stay AWAY from the backdrop!!

Move in and out of the photo as well as bumping back up the opacity and turning it down to see what you’re coloring. When your done, you should have a perfect white backdrop!

Now it’s important to not shoot a photo like above. If you don’t have a reflection of some kind, it’ll look like you cut the subject out and pasted them in. This was a test shot and not a great photo to start with, but it was all I had locally to do this tut with.




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