In Praise of Low-Key Photography


Shooting photos with a lower-exposure (darker).

Low-key = darker

A simple thing:

When you’re shooting your photos, lower the exposure-compensation to -1 or -2.

For example on RICOH GR III, I’ve been shooting P [program mode] in JPEG ‘high contrast’ mode, and shooting many of my photos at -1 or -2 exposure compensation. Under-exposing your photos (shooting your photos darker) ‘protects the highlights’ — which darkens the overall mood of the photos.

The reason why I like low-key photos:

The photos have a deeper and darker mood.

In black and white, low-key photos look VERY DIFFERENT from reality (artistic).

When does low-key work well?

In my experience, when it is very bright outside (super sunny), better to shoot -1 or -2 exposure compensation.

This works well when photographing shadows, silhouettes, or bright/white surfaces.


Paint a mood in your photos

I think this is what we are trying to do with our photos and artwork:

Paint a certain mood which enraptures your viewer, which transports your viewer into a new world!