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"Low Key Photography in the Studio with Flash and Continuous Light."

"Discover the fascinating world of low key photography. With deliberate use of light and shadow, you create expressive images full of contrasts and ambiance. Dive into the darkness and unveil the hidden potential of your subjects. #LowKeyPhotography #Contrasts #Mood"

What is Low Key? Low key photography is a technique focused on producing images with strong contrasts and dramatic shading. The main aspect is to work deliberately with light and shadow to create an intense ambiance and a certain mysterious mood. The first step in low key photography is choosing the right subject. Objects with distinct contours, strong textures, or interesting shapes are especially suitable. Examples include portraits, still lifes, or architecture. The next challenge is the targeted use of light. In low key photography, you typically work with a single light source, like a spot or spotlight. This light is placed in such a way that it illuminates only part of the subject, leaving the rest in shadow. This limited lighting creates strong contrasts between the illuminated and shaded areas. The exposure settings are a crucial factor for low key photography. An underexposed shot is aimed for, emphasizing the dark areas and minimizing the details in the shadows. You can use the exposure compensation or adjust the manual exposure setting to achieve the desired result. Another vital component of low key photography is image composition. By strategically placing the subject within the frame, you can intensify the mood and focus on the illuminated areas. Use the shadows and darkness to create tension and depth. After capturing, you can further optimize the low key images in post-production. You can adjust the contrast and brightness to amplify the desired ambiance. Some photographers also prefer to convert to black and white to enhance the effect and reduce color distractions. Low key photography opens up a whole new creative world. You can play with light and shadow to create emotional and expressive images. Experiment with different subjects, light sources, and compositions to develop your unique style. Low key photography offers endless possibilities to create captivating and powerful images.

Low Key Photography - Camera Settings and Approach Camera settings:

  • Mode: Manual (M) or Aperture Priority (A/Av) to control the aperture and exposure.

  • Aperture: Depending on the desired depth of field, a large aperture (e.g., f/1.8 or f/2.8) for a blurred background or smaller aperture for more sharpness in the image.

  • ISO: As low as possible (e.g., ISO 100 or 200) to minimize image noise.

  • Shutter speed: Depending on the amount of light. With artificial light, longer exposure may be needed.


Make sure the focus is exactly where you want it, especially with portraits on the eyes.

Light source:

When using an external flash, position it at an angle to the subject to produce hard shadows. Use light shapers like softboxes to soften the light or umbrellas for reflection.


Choose a dark background to highlight the subject and ensure no unwanted reflections occur.


Use spot metering on your camera to align the exposure with the brightest part of the subject.

Exposure compensation:

Start with a correction of -1 or -2 to deliberately underexpose the image and adjust as needed.

Test shots:

Take some test shots and review them on your camera display to ensure you've captured the desired ambiance.


Editing software can be used to further darken the image, increase the contrast, highlight details in the shadows, or remove unwanted distractions.

By adhering to these steps and constant practice, you can ensure your low key photos convey the desired ambiance and mood. Experimenting with different settings and techniques will refine your skills and produce impressive low key images.

My equipment for low key photos: Camera: Sony Alpha 7IV Lenses: Sony SEL FE 85mm f1.8 Flashes: Sony Hvl-f60rm2 - Sony Hvl-F46Rm off-camera. Continuous light: NEEWER 150W 5600K Dimmable LED Video Light, Bowens mount Stands for the lights Light shapers: I use strip lights with grids. Exposure meter:

Here you can see the strip lights with grids, which are very important for low-key photography.

I highly recommend using them, as they can produce beautiful directed streaks of light

Hier ist ein Striplight zu sehen.
Lightbox Striplight

Here, it's also very important to note the dark, preferably black, background. The wall is painted black, but there are also black roll papers available.

Hier ein kleiner Ausschnitt aus meinem Studio
Studio von Grisii Photo

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