High Key

Looking to produce, a light, cheery atmosphere to your photo? Try shooting in hey key
and/or using Luminar’s high key filter.

What is High Key Photography?

High key is a style of photography that creates bright, high contrast images where most of the tones are in the right half of the histogram. This creates a cheery, upbeat atmosphere to the image, where everything has a “glow” about it. Originally created as a solution for film screens that could not correctly display high contrast ratios, shooting in high key is now a favorite of the fashion and beauty industry, as well as an ideal way to market products.

When To Use High Key

High key photography is most often used on portraits where you’re wanting the mood to be light and upbeat. It works best when most of the tones in the scene are already light-colored. It’s also a great choice for flowers or other subjects that are somewhat delicate in nature, especially if you’re wanting to give them an ethereal, dream-like quality.

These days, however, a new venue has popped up where high key photography really excels: product photography. The brightness of the lighting can create some exceptional, attention-grabbing contrast and really highlight the product at its best. Also, the white background tends to suggest high quality in the mind of the viewer.

How to Shoot in High Key

To shoot in high key you’ll want to have a strong “key” light that fully lights up your subject, as well as something to fill in the shadows on the part of the subject that isn’t being illuminated by the key light. This “fill” light can come from either a secondary fill light or a reflector of some sort. If you’re using a reflector, use the silver side rather than the white side because high key really works best with low contrast. Beyond that, you’ll also need a light or white background. (For photographing small to medium-sized products, using a light box really works.)

For best effect, makes sure as much of the scene as possible is lightly-colored. If you’re photographing a model, for instance, make sure they’re wearing light clothing. If you have any props, they should be light-colored as well. This helps to reflect the light.

Making an Ordinary Photo High Key in Luminar

Want a high key photo but didn’t shoot it that way? No problem. Luminar’s high key filter can provide that light, cheery glow and high-contrast look. Simply add the high key filter your workflow and experiment with the sliders to get the look and feel you’re looking for. The filter comes with sliders controlling the amount, glow, standard high key, dynamic high key, saturation, blacks, and overall contrast. A particularly cool adjustment is the dynamic high key slider, which allows you to brighten the image without washing out your model’s skin tones or your product’s detail.

With a little experimentation, you’ll be able to add the perfect glow to what would otherwise be an ordinary photo.

New AI tools in Luminar 4
and more...

The world’s first photo editor
that adapts to the way you edit photos

Luminar advantage

Luminar makes your photos more beautiful, vivid and sharp. It is the next generation photo software that is adapts to your skill level and photography style.

Resize Image

Luminar is the powerful photo software that makes it easy to resize your images. You’ll change size of a picture in less than a minute without losing the quality.

Color splash

The Color Splash technique allows you to create dramatic photos with selective colors. Turn your photo into grayscale, and keep the color of certain objects.

Crop Photo

Want to crop your photo? Luminar for Mac brings the best tool to crop your images. Use custom crop modes and pick the ratio you need to get necessary results.

New AI tools in Luminar 4
and more...

Use Aurora HDR for free for 14 days.

Sent successfully!

Please check your inbox.
We've sent you a copy via email.

Sorry

Looks like you're subscribed already

Sorry

This is sad. Looks like you’ve earlier unsubscribed from Skylum emails. Please resubscribe here.

Thank you for downloading
Aurora HDR

Preparing your download...

Did your download not start?
Dont worry, just click here to try again.

Oops! Something went wrong. Don't worry, just click here to try again.

Step 1

Step 1 Find & Open
Aurora HDR Installer

Step 2

Step 2 Follow the instructions
to install Aurora HDR

Step 3

Step 3 Enjoy new photo
editing experience

Thank you for downloading
Aurora HDR

Preparing your download...

Did your download not start?
Dont worry, just click here to try again.

Oops! Something went wrong. Don't worry, just click here to try again.

Step 1

Step 1 Find & Open
Aurora HDR Installer

Step 2

Step 2 Follow the instructions
to install Aurora HDR

Step 3

Step 3 Enjoy new photo
editing experience

Luminar 3

Use Luminar 3 for free for 7 days.

Editor Software Features review

Sent successfully!

Please check your inbox.
We've sent you a copy via email.

Software version review attention

Sorry

Looks like you're subscribed already

Photo editor Software error

Error

This is sad. Looks like you’ve earlier unsubscribed from Skylum emails. Please resubscribe here.

Thank you for downloading
Luminar 3

Preparing your download...

Did your download not start?
Dont worry, just click here to try again.

Oops! Something went wrong. Don't worry, just click here to try again.

Step 1

Run the
Luminar 3 installer
Click the downloaded file at the
bottom left corner of your screen

Step 2

Step 2 Follow the instructions
to install Luminar

Step 3

Step 3 Enjoy new photo
editing experience

Thank you for downloading
Luminar 3

Preparing your download...

Did your download not start?
Dont worry, just click here to try again.

Oops! Something went wrong. Don't worry, just click here to try again.

Step 1

Run the
Luminar 3 installer
Click the downloaded file at the
bottom left corner of your screen

Step 2

Step 2 Follow the instructions
to install Luminar

Step 3

Step 3 Enjoy new photo
editing experience

Thank you for downloading
Luminar 3

Preparing your download...

Did your download not start?
Dont worry, just click here to try again.

Oops! Something went wrong. Don't worry, just click here to try again.

Step 1

Run the
Luminar 3 installer
Click the downloaded file at the
bottom left corner of your screen

Step 2

Step 2 Follow the instructions
to install Luminar

Step 3

Step 3 Enjoy new photo
editing experience

Thank you for downloading
Luminar 3

Preparing your download...

Did your download not start?
Dont worry, just click here to try again.

Oops! Something went wrong. Don't worry, just click here to try again.

Step 1

Run the
Luminar 3 installer
Click the downloaded file at the
bottom left corner of your screen

Step 2

Step 2 Follow the instructions
to install Luminar

Step 3

Step 3 Enjoy new photo
editing experience

Luminar 3

Use Luminar 3 for free for 7 days.

Editor Software Features review

Sent successfully!

Please check your inbox.
We've sent you a copy via email.

Software version review attention

Sorry

Looks like you're subscribed already

Photo editor Software error

Error

This is sad. Looks like you’ve earlier unsubscribed from Skylum emails. Please resubscribe here.

Thank you for downloading
Luminar 3

Preparing your download...

Did your download not start?
Dont worry, just click here to try again.

Oops! Something went wrong. Don't worry, just click here to try again.

Step 1

Run the
Luminar 3 installer
Click the downloaded file at the
bottom left corner of your screen

Step 2

Step 2 Follow the instructions
to install Luminar

Step 3

Step 3 Enjoy new photo
editing experience

Thank you for downloading
Luminar 3

Preparing your download...

Did your download not start?
Dont worry, just click here to try again.

Oops! Something went wrong. Don't worry, just click here to try again.

Step 1

Run the
Luminar 3 installer
Click the downloaded file at the
bottom left corner of your screen

Step 2

Step 2 Follow the instructions
to install Luminar

Step 3

Step 3 Enjoy new photo
editing experience

Thank you for downloading
Luminar 3

Preparing your download...

Did your download not start?
Dont worry, just click here to try again.

Oops! Something went wrong. Don't worry, just click here to try again.

Step 1

Run the
Luminar 3 installer
Click the downloaded file at the
bottom left corner of your screen

Step 2

Step 2 Follow the instructions
to install Luminar

Step 3

Step 3 Enjoy new photo
editing experience

Thank you for downloading
Luminar 3

Preparing your download...

Did your download not start?
Dont worry, just click here to try again.

Oops! Something went wrong. Don't worry, just click here to try again.

Step 1

Run the
Luminar 3 installer
Click the downloaded file at the
bottom left corner of your screen

Step 2

Step 2 Follow the instructions
to install Luminar

Step 3

Step 3 Enjoy new photo
editing experience

Thank you for downloading
Luminar 3

Preparing your download...

Did your download not start?
Dont worry, just click here to try again.

Oops! Something went wrong. Don't worry, just click here to try again.

Step 1

Run the
Luminar 3 installer
Click the downloaded file at the
bottom left corner of your screen

Step 2

Step 2 Follow the instructions
to install Luminar

Step 3

Step 3 Enjoy new photo
editing experience

Thank you for downloading
Luminar 3

Preparing your download...

Did your download not start?
Dont worry, just click here to try again.

Oops! Something went wrong. Don't worry, just click here to try again.

Step 1

Run the
Luminar 3 installer
Click the downloaded file at the
bottom left corner of your screen

Step 2

Step 2 Follow the instructions
to install Luminar

Step 3

Step 3 Enjoy new photo
editing experience

Thank you for downloading
Luminar 3

Preparing your download...

Did your download not start?
Dont worry, just click here to try again.

Oops! Something went wrong. Don't worry, just click here to try again.

Step 1

Run the
Luminar 3 installer
Click the downloaded file at the
bottom left corner of your screen

Step 2

Step 2 Follow the instructions
to install Luminar

Step 3

Step 3 Enjoy new photo
editing experience

Thank you for downloading
Luminar 3

Preparing your download...

Did your download not start?
Dont worry, just click here to try again.

Oops! Something went wrong. Don't worry, just click here to try again.

Step 1

Run the
Luminar 3 installer
Click the downloaded file at the
bottom left corner of your screen

Step 2

Step 2 Follow the instructions
to install Luminar

Step 3

Step 3 Enjoy new photo
editing experience

Luminar Flex

Use Luminar Flex for free for 30 days.

Editor Software Features review

Success

Please check your inbox.
We've sent you a copy via email.

Software version review attention

Sorry

Looks like you're subscribed already

Photo editor Software error

Error

This is sad. Looks like you’ve earlier unsubscribed from Skylum emails. Please resubscribe here.

Thank you for downloading Luminar Flex

Did your download not start?
Dont worry, just click here to try again.

Step 1

Step 1 Find & Open
Luminar Flex Installer

Step 2

Step 2 Follow the instructions
to install Luminar Flex

Step 3

Step 3 Enjoy new photo
editing experience

Thank you for downloading Luminar Flex

Did your download not start?
Dont worry, just click here to try again.

Step 1

Step 1 Find & Open
Luminar Flex Installer

Step 2

Step 2 Follow the instructions
to install Luminar Flex

Step 3

Step 3 Enjoy new photo
editing experience

AirMagic

Use AirMagic for free for 30 days.

Editor Software Features review

Sent successfully!

Please check your inbox.
We've sent you a copy via email.

Software version review attention

Sorry

Looks like you're subscribed already

Photo editor Software error

Error

This is sad. Looks like you’ve earlier unsubscribed from Skylum emails. Please resubscribe here.

Thank you for downloading AirMagic

Preparing your download...

Did your download not start?
Dont worry, just click here to try again.

Oops! Something went wrong. Don't worry, just click here to try again.

Did your download not start?
Dont worry, just click here to try again.

Step 1

Step 1 Find & Open
AirMagic Installer

Step 2

Step 2 Follow the instructions
to install AirMagic

Step 3

Step 3 Launch AirMagic
and start enhancing your images.

Thank you for downloading AirMagic

Preparing your download...

Did your download not start?
Dont worry, just click here to try again.

Oops! Something went wrong. Don't worry, just click here to try again.

Did your download not start?
Dont worry, just click here to try again.

Step 1

Step 1 Find & Open
AirMagic Installer

Step 2

Step 2 Follow the instructions
to install AirMagic

Step 3

Step 3 Launch AirMagic
and start enhancing your images.