I had seen a couple of posts from a couple of my Flickr contacts that use use a high key lighting effect. I’d never heard of the term before this week, but I find the effect intriguing. Therefore, I had to give it a shot. I decided to use a tutorial I had found after doing a Google search of the term.
I’ve seen high key lighting used most often in portraiture and artistic nudes. In the latter, it’s used to hint at body contours without too many embarrassing details. Not in the mood to disrobe in front of a camera, I decided to settle on portraiture. I think anyone who reads this blog will applaud that decision.
I was wearing a white shirt, so that would make things easier. I found the lightest wall we had available in the house, then set up two lamps on either side of a chair so that it was evenly lit. I don’t have any real studio lighting, so I used a utility lamp with a daylight fluorescent bulb.
I took several shots of myself, and even conned Laura into sitting for a couple of portraits. She insisted on sitting with one of our cats, so the result wasn’t really appropriate for high key. Mine, on the other hand, were a bit stark, but usable.
In Photoshop, I first used a curves overlay to blow out the exposure. Then I created another layer and added a color overlay to bring back the color in my eyes. I did a slight lens blur on the base layer to eliminate a few of those pesky wrinkles and blemishes. Laura said that the result (seen above) makes me look a bit psychotic. The black and white version looks even more psychotic.
The tutorial I used had done the effect on a baby photo, resulting in something that looked like the star child from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
I’m not sure if I’ll even use this again, but it was an interesting exercise. For me, personally, it looks a bit too pastel. I guess that’s appropriate for babies (or nudes), but it didn’t turn out quite like I’d like for a self portrait.
[tags]High Key, photography, portrait, Photoshop[/tags]