Making A Low-Key Portrait

Low key: Low-key lighting is a style of portrait lighting for creating a chiaroscuro effect.

Chiaroscuro: (Italian for light-dark) The use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition.

Broncolor MOVEFor the lighting setup in my 11×15 home studio using a Broncolor MOVE lighting kit, I placed one MobiLED head with 28×28-inch Flex lightbank at camera right. A second MobiLED head was placed at camera left and slightly behind the subject. The power pack was initially set for an approximate 3:1 lighting ratio but while shooting power settings were slightly increased to the second (backlight) head to add more highlights to the subject’s hair and side.

Camera was a Canon EOS 60D with an EF-S15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens with an exposure of 1/100 sec at f/6.3 and ISO 250. The image was originally captured in color and was converted to monochrome using Nik Silver Efex Pro and Nik’s Glamour Glow filter—part of Color Efex Pro—was applied to soften the overall look.

Author: Joe Farace

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