Low-Key Photography

I watched a video on YouTube that was published by B&H.  Roman Kurywczak described how he makes “tack-sharp” macro images.

After watching the video, I worked and worked to get it right.  Nothing turned out like the flower photos he showed in this video.  I was frustrated and jealous!  But, I kept trying.

Then, I ran across the book 52 Weekend Digital Photo Projects. You can see my other posts about the projects I have completed after reading through this book.  This book has significantly improved my skill and giving me inspiration for other projects adapted from it.

One of my favorite projects is the low-key, dramatic photo of a rose.  When I started this project, it was still deep in winter, and I did not think I could find a rose during that part of the season.  So, on my first attempt, I shot a low-key picture of a golf ball using the technique in the book.

52 Projects - Shoot 4-8074

I was excited about how it came out! The technique far exceeded my expectations. Here is how I set it up:

Golf Ball Low-Key Setup

  • I bought a black poster and foam board.
  • That is a simple desk lamp and two pieces of paper taped around the lamp.
  • The camera was mounted on a tripod with these settings;
    • ISO 100
    • AV Mode set on f/22
    • External shutter release
    • AWB
    • RAW file format
    • Portrait scene setting

In post-processing, I simply corrected the lens, added some contrast and brought down the blacks.  This was a quite simple project that applied to other subjects, like this little cactus:

2018 Small Cactus-9170

Finally, I noticed that the local grocery stores had bouquets of flowers on sale, and they had roses in them.  I finally got my rose photo:

2018 The Rose-9259

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