My First Attempt at High Key Clamshell Lighting

Details like pores and hair are visible but skin is smooth and light
Details like pores and hair are visible but skin is smooth and light

We were having folks over for dinner and board games which meant one thing for me:  photography models!  I wanted to try my hand at some high key photography.

High key photography, well actually high key art of any kind, is simply that which is made up of mostly light colors.  In photography this usually means a bright white background, sometimes to the point of glowing, and very light skin tones.

I’ve done other high key stuff in the past but it has always been extremely high contrast too.  Think: the Sin City comics or 40’s movie star portraits.  This time I wanted to try more of a fashion/cosmetics look where the people have a more natural tonal range but their skin is very light (beginning to take on a porcelain doll look) and smooth.  This effect is often amped way up to make the subject appear to be radiating angelic light.  That is where I started off with these images but opted to cut the effect back for a more realistic look.

I used a two-part process.  First, I photographed everyone against a lit white background using clamshell lighting to try and maximize eye catchlights.  I used my biggest reflector umbrella for the softest light I could get.  Second, I tweaked the photos in Lightroom and Photoshop.

 

 

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4 thoughts on “My First Attempt at High Key Clamshell Lighting

  1. Funny, before I read anything and after seeing Mel’s face, I thought she could be a model for toothpaste or cosmetics. Neat pics!

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