Low and High Key Flowers: Lighting Tutorial

This idea is based off the first project from the 52 Weekend Digital Photo Projects book.

Digital Photo Project 1-2

Digital Photo Project 1

So the first project in the book is how to capture low and high key blooms.

It’s a few days after Valentine’s, but I had some flowers left over, so I used them for this project. First, I attempted the low key bloom, the process of which I shall explain below.

First off, I set up the black studio background. Next, I placed a diffused light to the side, about at a 45 degree angle to where my flower would be placed. Then I set up my camera on a tripod so that I could rely on lower shutter speed without having to worry about camera shake or upping the ISO. Then I placed my flower below the camera. I’ve no idea where my studio clips are so I made do with clothespins to hold the single flowers. See the image below for an idea of the layout, equipment setup, and specs.

Digital Photo Project 1-6 Digital Photo Project 1-8 Digital Photo Project 1-7

Set your camera at two-stops below center on your in-camera meter.
The original bouquet image came out like this:

Digital Photo Project 1-11

After touching it up in Lightroom, the image turned out as below, cropped to square to share in Instagram.

Digital Photo Project 1-4

Finally, I sent the touched-up version into Photoshop to personalize it, as shown below:Digital Photo Project 1-5

So now the same process applies to the flowers below:
Digital Photo Project 1-16 Digital Photo Project 1-15

Now let’s move on to the high key photograph.

For the high key process, I switched the black background with a white one. Instead of using the continuous light, I used a flash and a couple of white cards around the subject. See the image below for a set-up idea. Digital Photo Project 1-10

I used both a white flower and a white/pink flower for this part of the project. Remember to expose these two-stops higher for high key images. Now below the same process applies to these images as above:

Digital Photo Project 1-14 Digital Photo Project 1-13

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