Following on directly from the heels of high key, this week we go to other end of the tonal spectrum . Low Key.
Low key is simply dark. Lots of Blacks. Muted tones.
Keeping your photograph with a majority of very dark tones.
Personally, I love carving out figures with delicate lighting from deep rich black backgrounds.
Just think the opposite of high key.
If you are researching Low Key, it can also refer to a lighting method. Rather than here where we are looking at the overall look and feel of the photograph.
In my talks, I often discuss black in an artwork. I say ‘Don’t be afraid of the darks.’ Black isn’t the enemy of photography that many judges criticise. So many famous photographs have rich deep areas of black. Some photographers make it part of their signature style. Black is a beautiful accent, and when used well makes photographs come alive. Like all negative space it needs to be composed very well, and not left as black blobs.
Always compose the black and dark toned areas as the foundation of your artwork. Artists often start with the dark areas by laying down large swathes of dark grey before doing anything else. I pay a huge amount of attention to composing the tonal areas of my photographs, and I recommend you do the same.
Compose the dark areas.
Let’s see what we can do?
Photographs and Text copyright © Len Metcalf 2019