12 Unmissable Tutorials on High Key Photography

High key photography is a technique that can produce some stunning images, but it may not be self evident to many people how to get similar results. The trouble is, where do you start? If you are interested in creating beautiful high key shots, here are 12 unmissable tutorials to get you started and a few shots for inspiration.

High Key Studio Lighting for Small Spaces – Not everyone has a huge space to take their portraits. With this tutorial, learn how you can create the perfect lighting for high key portraits in a limited space.

Momology High Key Photography Tutorial – Momolgy is a fun blog of a mother and photographer. Follow this tutorial for a few basic tips on high key photography in everyday life.

Black and White High Key in Photoshop – If you have a great image already that you’d like to convert to a high key black and white, this tutorial will show just how to do it.

How to Edit High Key Photos – Post processing workflow for high key images. This particular lesson is a video tutorial using Adobe Lightroom.

Stunning High Key Portrait Tutorial – Many times high key photography washes out the detail and gorgeous texture of an image. Learn how to preserve or add them in here.

How to Master High Key Photography for Fashion Photos – High key photos are perfect for fashion photography and are used very often even by large companies. Learn how to master this technique for your fashion shoots.

High Key Photography – Setup and Lighting for the Perfect Shoot – This is a quick video tutorial detailing the equipment, setup, and lighting for a basic DIY high key studio.

High Key Photography Anywhere (Video) – How to create a studio photograph no matter where you happen to be. Very useful for those photos “ruined” by the background!

Create High key photos in Adobe Lightroom – Turn a decent image into a professional-quality high key photo very easily. This is another tutorial in Lightroom.

Setting up Lightroom Presets for High Key – Yet another Lightroom tutorial. This time, learn how to make the high key post process workflow easier by setting high key presets.

Color to High Key Black and White – This is a basic and fun lesson detailing how to take almost any color photo and turn it into a black and white high key photo in Adobe Photoshop.

High Key Camera Techniques – How to create high key photos the easy way – by starting with you camera. Learn some basic techniques to get great base images before worrying about post processing.

These tutorials will give you a great starting place for creating the perfect high key images in almost any situation. If you think we have missed any good tutorials on high key photography, then feel free to post a link to them below.


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I'm Rob, the editor of Light Stalking. I try to keep this ship on course.

  • tk says:

    I’m pretty sure “high key” and “blown out” are different.

  • Nastia says:

    [img]http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6082/6088512356_bf1e653b0e_d.jpg[/img]
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/nastia_2/6088512356
    Eye

  • [img]http://www.flickr.com/photos/sendall/4939604141/sizes/l/in/set-72157624712416553/[/img]

    Model: Jamie Wise (before he became a famous model)

  • [img]http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4094/4939604141_b0425e6ec2_b.jpg[/img]

    Model: Jamie Wise (before he became a famous model)

  • MR says:

    tk, it isn’t about blowing out the subject — except for that shot of the eye (which is cool). It’s about properly exposing the subject — i.e. with contrast — but blowing out the background using light and a narrow subject depth of field. See how that young man’s face is already washing out at his ears, and the hair behind that is just a silhlouette. The focus is on his eyes and the DoF is wide enough to include his nose, lips, and chin. Tip: A tighter shirt, maybe a T-shirt with v-neck, would also have washed out because those wrinkles which provide shadow and depth would disappear.

  • Dave Baxter says:

    I tend to agree with a lot of the comments that these aren’t representative of quality high key images – here a tutorial that I’ve been following recently – http://www.1clickactions.com/highkeytutorial.htm

  • Chuck McLaughlin says:

    If you have a white background, you do not need to overexpose it to make it look white! Just expose it at the same f/stop your camera is using. Overexposing the background will just cause it to reflect light into the lens, causing flare and washed out subject outlines. Compare the skin tones and detail in this picture compared to the others.
    http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/36243_1231185737766_4422723_n.jpg


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