I'm very much attracted to photos like these, but I have no idea how to do them.

I would greatly appreciate if someone could explain how these photos are done because they are so beautiful. : example 1

Here is another one with color:

example 2

2 Answers 2


A term for this kind of pictures is "high-key"-photography. These Pics are overexposed, and in post-production contrast is added (via Lightroom, Photoshop, GIMP - whatever you want.) Also, there is a lot of white (background) space (e.g. the sky), which also emphasizes the contrast. If you want to go about making such pictures on your own, I'd suggest shooting the pictures exposed normally, and doing the over-exposure using Lightroom.

  • high-key and overexposed I agree with, but "added contrast"? Ok, there are dark objects which contrast with the light background, but I don't believe these had any contrast added in post - the blacks that are nowhere near black.
    – MikeW
    Jun 16, 2015 at 22:43
  • Thank you all for helping me with this...very much appreciate you all for your help :) Jun 17, 2015 at 1:23
  • 1
    @MikeW, at least the second picture looks like quite a bit contrast (and/or clarity) was added in post, judging from the way the sea looks like. In the first shot both whites and blacks are clipping, which is hard to achieve without adding contrast
    – Luke35
    Jun 17, 2015 at 5:42
  • @ErinElizabeth you're welcome ;)
    – Luke35
    Jun 17, 2015 at 5:42
  • @Luke35 I'm a bit confused. Yesterday looking at those images the book and teapot were a medium to dark grey, now they appear very black indeed. All I can imagine is I was viewing your answer via the review queue, where the original post (text and images) have lowered opacity - if, so that's a hilarious mistake on my part!
    – MikeW
    Jun 17, 2015 at 19:52

Notice the blown highlights, and in the top example at least, the clipped shadow detail.

This indicates the contrast was increased to the point that both the dark and light ends, but particularly the light end, was clipped.

It helps to start with subjects that have large light areas that you actually want to have clipped to full white. Examples are the table in the top picture and the sky in the second pitcture.

Basically this is partly chosing or creating the right scene, but mostly about post-processing with high contrast.

For example, here is a "normal" view of a picture with a large light area:

I got this by mapping the dark to light range from -.2 to 15, so the visible 0-1 is a small range near the low end. Another way of saying this is that the contrast was greatly increased with substantial clipping of the highlights and a little clipping of the dark end of the ranage:

By the way, high contrast and showing the light parts of the range instead of the dark parts yeilds a totally different picture:

Again, this is all done with post-processing. All it takes is the raw data with good dynamic range.

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