From time to time I see confusion about low key and high key photos. Some photographers think they can simply underexpose a photo and it will be “low key”; or over-expose a photo and it will be “high key”. But that’s not right.
Both low key and high key photos must have a full tonal range – black to white.
- For a low key photo, there will be mostly blacks, but there must be some whites.
- For a high key photo, there will be mostly whites, but there must be some blacks.
Those small areas are SO important!
- The tiny bit of white in a low key photo is the difference between a stunning image and a dark boring snapshot.
- The tiny bit of black in a high key photo is the difference between a stunning image and a washed-out cock-up.
I urge you to visit Google Images and browse “low key photography” and “high key photography”. You’ll quickly see what I mean.