Low Key Photography Tips for Beginner

low key photography

Have you ever heard about low key photography? Does that name ring a bell for you?

Low key photography, or low light photography ,is one of the most difficult techniques in photography. However, the arduous process will not betray the results; low key images can give people a very strong emotional impression.. If you like to make some impactful pictures, then you should try this low key photography method.

If you want to know more about what low key photography is and how to do this technique, please check the information below. We will try to give some guidance for you to be able to use this technique later on.

What is Low Key Photography?

To be able to understand what low key photography is, you can start by looking at the history of its emergence.

The term low key originally referred to a painting style. This painting style is generally dominated by dark colors. Low key photographs, just like low key style paintings, generally have dark colors with a dramatic quality in them. The contrast between dark and bright in an image creates a mysterious, even mystical impression on the object of the photo.

Low key photography is generally used to take portrait pictures. Low key portraits can really bring out all the details about the subject of the photo. To get a perfect low key picture, you need to be smart in setting the contrast between light and darkness. The only thing you need to do is practice more and use your intuition to find the balance between those two.

Read also: How to Take Sharp Photos in Low Light

How to Setup Low Key Photography?

Taking low key pictures is generally considered more difficult than taking high key pictures. This is because light is one of the main weapons for photographers.

In low key conditions, you have to manipulate the light in such a way that the amount is minimal, in contrast to high key where you enter as much light as you need.

However, difficult does not mean impossible. With a little help, both from equipment such as backdrops, lighting, and tripods, as well as a complete guide, you can start your journey to mastering low key lighting photography right now.

Here is a guide to get you started on your journey.

1. Prepare the Right Equipment

As with other types of photography, your success in taking low key photos will more or less depend on the equipment you use.

Here are some of the tools you’ll need to take low key shots.

  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Light source (artificial or natural light)
  • Background with a dark color (such as gray or black)
  • Reliable image editing app

Also Read: Photography Lighting Equipment List You Must Have

2. Change Your Camera Settings

In an ideal situation, you want your camera’s ISO to be at its lowest and aperture wide open.

A low ISO will help you to get photos with dark tones and free of noise. For some cameras, you can set the ISO at 100. If that’s not possible, choose the lowest number available on your camera.

In addition to ISO, you also have to pay attention to the aperture of your camera. Start with the smallest F value on your camera, such as f/1.4 or f/1.8. With the aperture wide open, you can take in as much light well as possible.

With a large aperture, you can use a fairly fast shutter speed. However, there are some situations where you have to use a slow shutter speed to get enough time for light to enter your camera properly.

3. Use Low Key Lighting

To get sharper images in low light situations, you can use low key lighting. In contrast to high key lighting which gives a cheerful and bright atmosphere, low key lighting gives depth and mystery to the object of the photo. Dark shadows and the contrast between black and white can create color compositions that seem mysterious and emotional.

The placement of the light source will depend entirely on the direction of the photographer. However, there is one thing that you must adhere to when taking low key pictures. Make sure no light is falling or hitting the background.

Then, another best practice is not to let dark shadows cover the subject’s face. While this can be dramatic, the point of low key photography, like any other photography, is to make the object of the photo look attractive.

If you have a studio, then you can shoot low key photography using a butterfly or Rembrandt lighting pattern. These two lighting patterns are the most common patterns used in studios. To make the pattern, you only need a lamp and a reflector.

4. Make sure the background remains dark

Whatever experiment you do to take your own low key portrait, make sure the background you use remains dark.

If you feel that your background is too bright or is taking focus away from the object of the photo, you can move the model and light source a little further from the background.

Also Read: How to Change Color on Image Background

5. Do the Editing Process

With an image editing application, you can give the final touch to get the low key photos you want.

Also Read: Why is Photography Post Production Important?

What touches do you need to give your image?

First, you can make your model look brighter. Then, you’re also looking for the perfect white balance for your image.

Then, you also reduce the noise that might appear in your low key image. Noise may not be very visible in high key images, but in low key images, noise will be very noticeable and distracting.

Read also: Flat Lay Photography Technique for Minimalist Photo

Let’s Create Some Extraordinary Low Key Image!

Now, are you ready to create some extraordinary low key image? Just follow our tips above and you are able to create your own low key photography and give the impact to whoever sees the picture.

As for the editing, you can just give it to Dropicts. Dropicts as a image retouching services has a lot of services to help every photographer in editing and you can also try our services to give a better result in your low key photograph.

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