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Dark & Mysterious: 20 Examples of Low-Key Photography

Dark & Mysterious: 20 Examples of Low-Key Photography

Light & Dark

Low-key is a style of lighting for photograph and film. It attempts to create a chiaroscuro effect. In traditional photographic lighting, three-point lighting uses a key light, a fill light, and a back light for even illumination. Low-key lighting requires only one key light, optionally controlled with a fill light or a simple reflector.

Low key light accentuates the contours of an object by throwing areas into shade while a fill light or reflector may illuminate the shadow areas to control contrast. Below are 20 mysterious examples of this technique on different subjects and different lighting sources.

Hand by Lucas Cobb

Jack Low Key Tattoos by DSPhoties

Low Key Mood by Sasha Segade

Alexisonfire by Patrick L.

VisionMongers by Hasby

Guitarist by John Lucia

Flower by Evan Leavitt

Jen by Laura Grogan

Selfie 2 by Mike Jennings

Tap Shoes by Nicholase Pelletiet

Low key by Apprime

Keys by Anna P.

Studio Shot by Jean Malnory

Water Lilly by Shaun Dunmall

Low key by Angela

3 Apples by Nazri Ibrahim

Sissy by Jack Strutz

for Kamina by Ruby T.

Ballet by Paul Stowger

I really hope you enjoyed this post and have developed an intrigue in the technique of low-key photography. It’s best to use a tripod and set for a long exposure. If you want to learn more about low-key photography, check out this great low-key photography book:

Lighting Techniques for Low Key Portrait Photography

Alternatively, feel free to link to your own low-key photographs in the comments below!