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Thread: High Key

  1. #1

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    High Key

    Hi All,

    I wonder if you can help a fairly inexperienced DSLR user?

    Having seen some amazing high key images on the net, I'm wondering if it's possible to shoot high key with just a Nikon D7000 and a 16-85 lens.

    I shot manual and aperture priority most of the time.

    Appreciate your thoughts.
    Thanks is advance.

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: High Key

    Eon

    It's perfectly possible to achieve high key images with what you have.

    The successful making of high key images is all down, I think, to:
    a) your choice of subject matter and,
    b) your post processing skills

    So teh camra equipment is secondary. It's what you see in your head when your taking the photo and how skilful you are about turning that vision into reality back in the digital darkroom.

  3. #3
    Camellia's Avatar
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    Re: High Key

    Hi Eon

    I've taken these with my Canon 500D. I took the first two concentrating on composition and exposure and then discovering when doing PP that they worked as high-key. The self-portrait I intended to be high-key. My approach may not be recommended by others. I tend to take the photo more often than not only concentrating on composition and exposure and then fiddling with PP to see what I can come up with. Maybe as I gain more experience, I'll change this approach.

    High Key

    High Key

    High Key

    R

  4. #4

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    Re: High Key

    Camellia

    WOW!

    Stunning images. Yes .... that is exactly what I am aspiring to try to achieve.

    Can High Key be done to a certain degree without post processing software?

    I have the basic Nikon viewNX2 software, but in previous posts, the replies from Donald and Jiro have indicated that I need to invest in a more advanced software package.

    Is high key just a matter of blowing out highlights and over exposing?

    As a relative newbie photography, I'm guessing there's more to it than that.

    Thanks

  5. #5
    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: High Key

    Eon, it is not the camera or the lens that is the weak link when going for a high key type of photography. It is more about the lighting setup. In a way, you can mimic a high-key effect using some post-processing software like photoshop but most of the time, professional photographers do this right using the proper lighting setup.

    This is an example of a professionally done high-key photography by the very well known photographer Sanjay Kothari. As you can see, High Key photography is more on the lack of shadows on the image, bright tones which are usually even on the shot, but still you can see that it is not totally overexposed, and also the background is almost pure white.

    High Key

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by jiro; 4th May 2011 at 03:43 PM.

  6. #6
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    Re: High Key

    I do it with one speedlite set to full power on a White or light coloured background with separate lighting on the subject. In most circumstances that is enough to blow out the background and make it high key.

  7. #7

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    Re: High Key

    Jiro... Great image. Thanks for your help.

    Cheers Stevewe88 Speedlight is next on my shopping list.

  8. #8
    Camellia's Avatar
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    Re: High Key

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    Eon, it is not the camera or the lens that is the weak link when going for a high key type of photography. It is more about the lighting setup. In a way, you can mimic a high-key effect using some post-processing software like photoshop but most of the time, professional photographers do this right using the proper lighting setup.
    As I said Eon, my approach may not be recommended by others. I did not use any additional light sources for my photos. The first one was taken indoors under fluorescent lights, the second one obviously outdoors in morning light and the third one indoors with natural light from a window.

    In terms of software, again my approach may be offbeat but I suggest you play around with the contrast slider in your software and observe the changes. My computer/software knowledge has all been developed by simply playing with the settings and seeing what happens. If in doubt, hit undo, cancel or don't save.

    Don't be put off from your artistic dreams by apparent lack of equipment. Experiment with what is available at hand. It's amazing what you can come up with given a bit of imagination.

    Good luck.

    R

  9. #9
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    Re: High Key

    To make a practical example for you, Eon. This image was taken from a public domain that allows the viewers to download it to be used a a screen wallpaper. I downloaded it to use it as an example on how to make a regular shot look like a high-key shot using some post-processing work using Photoshop.

    Here is the original image of Kirsten Dunst. This shot was taken by Francois Durand. As you can see on the image below, it was shot outdoors.

    High Key

    This is the edited image. What I did is to lower down the contrast, increase the exposure a little bit (since the image is already bright) and added one additional curve adjustment layer that further increases the brightness level of the whole scene. The idea here is to eliminate as much shadows as possible without blowing out the highlights (meaning, i tried to preserve as much texture if possible on the skin and hairs). High-key photography works well to denote happiness and as you can see, I picked an image that shows a woman smiling beautifully. I also used a black and white conversion as I find high-key photography to work very well, too with black and white shots.

    High Key

    This is the layer adjustments that I did.

    High Key


    All due credit goes to Mr. Francois Durand. All the original exif data was intact and was not edited in any manner when the editing was done.
    Last edited by jiro; 5th May 2011 at 01:04 AM.

  10. #10

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    Re: High Key

    Jiro

    Very helpful post... Thanks for your time and for putting an example up. Is that photoshop you are using?

  11. #11
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    Re: High Key

    Quote Originally Posted by eon View Post
    Jiro

    Very helpful post... Thanks for your time and for putting an example up. Is that photoshop you are using?
    Yes, Sir.

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    Re: High Key

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    To make a practical example for you, Eon. This image was taken from a public domain that allows the viewers to download it to be used a a screen wallpaper. I downloaded it to use it as an example on how to make a regular shot look like a high-key shot using some post-processing work using Photoshop.

    Here is the original image of Kirsten Dunst. This shot was taken by Francois Durand. As you can see on the image below, it was shot outdoors.

    High Key

    This is the edited image.
    This edited Image further edited by me

    High Key

  13. #13
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: High Key

    Quote Originally Posted by eon View Post
    Can High Key be done to a certain degree without post processing software?

    I have the basic Nikon viewNX2 software, but in previous posts, the replies from Donald and Jiro have indicated that I need to invest in a more advanced software package.
    Yes, ViewNX2 can do what's needed, but you won't have the same amount of versatility as you would with better software, so you will need a slightly better suited subject from the camera.

    The best advice I can give is to experiment and keep trying.

    Good luck,

  14. #14
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    Re: High Key

    Taken with my Nikon D3100.

    High Key

  15. #15
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: High Key

    Quote Originally Posted by Rasbury View Post
    High Key
    I like that. It's a clever concept, well put together.

  16. #16

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    Re: High Key

    Awesome shot.

  17. #17
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    Re: High Key

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    I like that. It's a clever concept, well put together.
    Thanks Donald.The wife is not to keen on getting her picture taken so did this for to use as a profile pic.I thought about pulling the photo back out and applying another colored layer on top and reducing the opacity to about 5% to give it a hint of color.

  18. #18
    Rasbury's Avatar
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    Re: High Key

    Quote Originally Posted by eon View Post
    Awesome shot.
    Thanks Eon!

  19. #19
    Kris V's Avatar
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    Re: High Key

    Being fairly new at this forum, I have been poking around and found this very intriguing subject.
    I HAD to try it - I'm always ready for someting new when it comes to playing with pictures,
    Jiro, I used your photoshop screenshot as a guide line and then played around until I got the result below.
    Here is my first experiment: Am I on the right track?
    High Key

  20. #20
    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: High Key

    Quote Originally Posted by Kris V View Post
    Being fairly new at this forum, I have been poking around and found this very intriguing subject.
    I HAD to try it - I'm always ready for someting new when it comes to playing with pictures,
    Jiro, I used your photoshop screenshot as a guide line and then played around until I got the result below.
    Here is my first experiment: Am I on the right track?
    High Key
    Not bad, not bad at all. Your high key edit gives the guy more character. I suggest you bring back some detail on the back of the neck (just the outline) and some of the shirt back for a stronger appeal. Good job, Kris.

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