Low Key Portraits

Since Black Friday is coming up in a few days lets look at a recent low-key portrait that I made while photographing a model wearing black against a black background. Low key pictures, like this one, concentrate on the darker tones of an image and can convey an atmosphere of mystery. Typically low-key portraits  use higher contrast lighting with most of the subject is in shadow with relatively brightly lit small areas and is a useful technique for photographing brunettes such as Colleen, although that’s not quite what I produced here.


Above is the lighting setup that I used for the low-key image of Colleen (at right) proving that the behind the scenes image can look really different from the final results.

A Broncolor 28-inch lightbank is used here as back/hair light with the main light coming from a second Broncolor Litos head with 60-inch Booth Photographics parabolic umbrella attached to it that you can’t see in this production shot see because it’s behind me. © Joe Farace

When photographing Colleen with two lights from the Broncolor Senso/Litos A22 power pack and head system I used a black Westcott Scrim Jim as a background. The final image was shot using a Canon EOS ID Mark IIN and EF 85mm f/1.8 lens and an exposure of 1/50 sec at f/16 and ISO 100. © Joe Farace

Author: Joe Farace

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