High key

Magdalena at her wedding, Ojerzyce, Poland, 2008

Reminiscent of the Sugar loaf picture from a while back, here’s another high-key type of photo. Now when you shoot weddings with brides in white dresses and kids playing around, high-key may feel cheesy and cliché, but every now and then you may get some real gems. High-key in photography usually refers to subjects and scenes that you intentionally overexpose slightly; oftentimes the motives themselves would have light tones to start off with.

Now there’s two ways of getting high-key images. Either you really overexpose the picture when you take it, or you push the brightness afterwards in post-processing (like this one here, which has been brightened by almost 2 EV). For the latter, however, you really want to have been shooting in RAW, otherwise there’s just not enough information in the dark tones to work with…

Finally you also want to play around with the saturation. The Sugar Loaf photo, for instance, was highly saturated, whereas the one here is a bit more muted. If you really want to go over the top, experiment with a white vignette.

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