Step-by-step Create low-key lighting
Working with subtle lighting like this can be tricky, as you’ve got to strike the perfect balance between showing too much information and not showing enough. Use our helpful tips to create the perfect low-key lighting setup.
1 Position your lights
It’s important to keep in mind that the only visual ‘bricks’ you can build your composition with are the surfaces your light touches. You’ll find that you get the best results by using two lights, as this will create a balanced composition by illuminating both sides of your model’s face or body. With typical portraiture your lights would ordinarily be placed in front of your subject’s face, but with this technique you’ll need to position them behind and to the side of the model. Doing this means the lights catch the sides of your subject’s frame.
2 Set the power
You’ll only want a small sliver of illuminated skin, so don’t set your lights too bright. We would recommend starting at the minimum power and then slowly increasing it until you find the perfect setting. If you’re working at minimum power and you still think that the lights are illuminating too much of your subject’s body, then simply move the lights further away from your model until you achieve the desired result.