The High Key Effect

Many of my images throughout my portfolio are shot using a snoot or shot at high shutter speeds to create the black background. Shooting subjects in this manner helps me to create a true portrait of my subject and gives it a distinctive "pop" of natural contrast. However, i get tired of shooting this way and if the same style is over used, a portfolio can become boring! 

So, being a person of extremes, i tried shooting similar subjects using a "High Key" effect resulting in a fun and fresh way for me to create images with a bright feel.

Sailfin Blenny-High Key Exposure

High Key exposures, concentrates on using the bright high point instead of the dark or low point to create your exposure values. This is an old studio method of lighting when using multiple light sources to create an image. In nature, we have the best light source known to man, the Sun. However, sunlight can be a double edged sword for photographers and we must overcome the power and effect of sunlight using our strobe flash and positioning.
When im creating a high key image, i use a single strobe to capture my sample images and check for exposure on my subject as well as the position of any shadows. Then, i position my second strobe in a way to "Fill" the shadow and to create a sanguine, bright, soft feel in the frame.  

Whip Coral Gobie-High Key 

High key can be a great alternative to creating all kinds of different feels and textures to your portfolio. In this image, im using a combination of nearness to my subject and an open aperture, together with 10 & 2 sidelighting. This style of lighting should give a nice, even exposure to the entire frame. 
Slightly overexpose without blowing out your channels then work your image according to what you want. For example, if i want to shoot at ƒ, 5.6 then i must adjust the exposure without touching my aperture dial by dropping my ISO or by pulling my strobes back. Problem solve according to how you would like your image to look and feel working towards the end result. Of course, this means knowing what you want, before you begin.

The High key effect can be used across a wide range of subjects and for both macro and wide angle images. Small animals like sea slugs are perfect as they don't swim away quickly and will allow you to make adjustments as needed. Shooting large animals might not be achieved as easily but the same technique can still be used. I always suggest to start small and build your skillset before taking the show on the road. 

 Camera: Nikon D850 | D500
Lens: 60mm and 105mm + Kraken Pro Diopters
Strobes: Sea and Sea YSD-2 and D2-j
Housing: Sea and Sea