Tag Archives: low light

Low Key Lighting – Part 2

I really interested on how to make photo with low key lighting technique. Whether used in still life object or portrait.

The concept is to make photo with some mood or make a dramatic scene using predominantly dark tone. As you can read at my previous article. To shot with this technique you should make main object in the right exposure while background or the surrounding areas under exposure. So that we don’t need to use low speed. The key is not just produce dark image but used lighting selectively so that only the specific part of the object illuminated. We can use flash, lamp or flashlight as a key light, fill light or backlight for illumination. The trick is on how you manipulating the lighting and positioning your object so that the light fall on the right spot to create the mood that you want.

Using desk lamp:

CameraNikon D90
Exposure0.033 sec (1/30)
Aperturef/2.8
Focal Length50 mm
Focal Length50.4 mm
Exposure Bias0 EV
FlashNo Flash

 

 

Using flash

 

CameraNikon D90
Exposure0.01 sec (1/100)
Aperturef/5.6
Focal Length50 mm
Focal Length50.4 mm
Exposure Bias0 EV
FlashNo Flash

 

 

 

Using natural light :

CameraNikon D90
Exposure0.013 sec (1/80)
Aperturef/3.2
Focal Length50 mm
Focal Length50.4 mm
Exposure Bias0 EV
FlashNo Flash

 

 

In Portrait, this technique will emphasize people character. You can produce sentimental look and a bit mellow like picture above. There’s something about the mood and drama that is created using this kind of lighting technique. Combine between creative and dramatic posing, then you’ll get the power of the image that will last forever.

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Low Key Lighting – Part 1

Low-key lighting is a style of lighting for photographyfilm or television. It is a necessary element in creating a chiaroscuro effect. Traditional photographic lightingthree-point lighting uses a key light, a fill light, and a back light for illumination. Low-key lighting often uses only one key light, optionally controlled with a fill light or a simple reflector. It is a necessary element in creating a chiaroscuro effect. Traditional photographic lightingthree-point lighting uses a key light, a fill light, and a back light for illumination. Low-key lighting often uses only one key light, optionally controlled with a fill light or a simple reflector.

Low key light accentuates the contours of an object by throwing areas into shade while a fill light or reflector may illuminate the shadow areas to control contrast. The relative strength of key-to-fill, known as the lighting ratio, can be measured using a light meter. Low key lighting has a higher lighting ratio, e.g. 8:1, than high-key lighting, which can approach 1:1.  (Source : Wikipedia)

Being interested with this kind of photography technique, i learn how to make a photo with dramatic mood. Low key refers to a style of photography that utilizes predominantly dark tones to create a dramatic looking image. Some people call it moody light as well. For low key shots, the camera settings can actually vary quite widely. The trick is to minimize the light entering the camera while not making everything too dark.

CameraNikon D90
Exposure0.004 sec (1/250)
Aperturef/2.0
Focal Length50 mm
Focal Length50.4 mm
Exposure Bias0 EV
FlashNo Flash

Here we see a nice solid black background and one primary light source. I used available light from left side of image. From the Flickr properties we can see that the exposure is at 1/250 sec, the aperture is f/2.0 and the ISO is at 100. Normally an ISO that low would produce an image that’s too dark under anything but decently bright conditions but here dark is exactly what the photographer wanted.

The bonus of shooting at ISO 100 is that the image quality stays high and void of color noise, which has a tendency to really stand out against a black background. Let’s take a look at one more image and see if we spot any similarities.

CameraNikon D90
Exposure0.003 sec (1/320)
Aperturef/3.2
Focal Length50 mm
Focal Length50.4 mm
Exposure Bias0 EV
FlashNo Flash

As you can see, even though this image is brighter, it was actually shot at 1/320 sec, significantly faster than the previous image. Although the aperture is letting in less light at f/3.2, the ISO is the same and it looks like there’s more available light in the scene. The extra light enables the photographer to shoot at a faster shutter speed while still pulling in plenty of detail.

The primary takeaway from these two images is to try your best to keep your ISO around 100-200 to keep the image both dark and noise-free. You’ll have to then play with your exposure and aperture to achieve the desired effect for your particular lighting setup.


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