2 Tips for Making Great High Key Photography

High key photography is a photographic style that involves having one light source that is significantly brighter than anything else being used. Two characteristics of high key photography are areas that are over exposed and high contrast levels between the brightest and darkest areas. There are two ways to achieve a high key look for your photos.

1. Make the Most Out of One Large Light

When creating lighting set ups, one light is chosen to be the brightest and is thus the source light. It's called the key light. So, if you want to get a high key look, then you should consider using one very large key light. The size of your light will depend on the resources that are available to you. Most household circuit breakers have 20 amp fuses which means that you can plug a light that's up to 2,000 watts into an Edison outlet. If you want to use something larger, then you're going to need to find other ways to distribute the electricity. If you're unfamiliar with doing that, then you should hire a professional because one wrong move can lead to you being electrocuted. 

But, there are ways to get the most out of your light. For instance, you can surround your subject with a wall of 4' by 8' white foam core to create a large bounce around him, which will significantly raise the brightness of the shot.

2. Compensate with the Aperture

High key photography involves having overexposed parts of the frame. One easy way to achieve that is to open the camera's aperture to allow more light to pass through the lens. This is a cheap and easy way of controlling the overall high key look of your work without adding more lights.