Camera settings and techniques to shoot high-key images

To shoot high-key photography, you must master the tricks of lighting. But along with lighting, you also need to ensure that you also master shooting techniques. There are a bunch of things to remember when setting up your camera for high-key photography.

First, you need a lens that can shoot with the fastest aperture. Any aperture that’s f/2.8 and faster is considered a fast aperture. You can use a lens such as the 50mm f/1.8 prime, a 35mm f/1.8 prime, or even a 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom and use the fastest possible aperture to shoot. This will ensure that the camera will capture a lot of light.

The simple reason behind this is fast aperture captures more light, and more light means fewer shadows.

Shoot with a high ISO number. A high ISO has the same result as pushing the exposure up manually using a fast aperture. Let’s say your lens does not open up more than aperture f/4. That means to push the exposure; you’ve to use other options. One of those options is to push the ISO.

You can’t and should not try to slow down the shutter speed. Slowing down the shutter speed will increase the exposure time frame, and that will mean there will be chances of image blur. High-key photos are as sharp as any other type of photography, except that they have an overabundance of brighter tones.

Use exposure compensation. This is also one of the ways to compensate for the lack of a fast lens or the lack of light in the scene. When using exposure compensation, your ballpark number should be at least 2 (2 stops of exposure compensation correction).

When shooting, allow the light to spread in every direction. I feel strobes with umbrellas are a better option to achieve this rather than softboxes. Please set up your lights to illuminate the subject consistently and without leaving any shadows. Use the fill and the background lights to eliminate shadows in the background.

Finally, the challenge is to post-process the images correctly to get the desired final result. It’s easy to blow out the highlights while shooting high-vital images. This happens because the lighting is too bright and your camera settings are too high. During post-processing, your primary target should be to maintain details. It isn’t easy to salvage blown-out highlights. But if they’re salvageable, try to get back as much as possible.