How To - Low Key Photo Lighting

How To - Low Key Photo Lighting

You have asked me to translate some of my Czech 'how to' articles. Why not... We can start with a very popular low key lighting. 

There is no secret about this kind of lighting, I am going to show you how I took some photographs.

See the photograph bellow. If you want to take photo like this, use two light sources. You can use both flash strobes or continuous lights, not at the same time, of course.

Place the lights behind your model, approximately at 45' angle, similar to the photo. Now you need to experiment for a while according to a model's pose, required shadows etc... Sometimes just centimeters can make the difference between an average and great photograph.

model: Jana V.

If you have powerful lights, you can place them further from the model, you will get more space for the photo composition.

If you want soft contours, use softboxes, stripboxes, octaboxes, umbrellas or so. For sharper contours you use direct lights without any softeners. 

You can also use the third light from the front as a fill-in.

model: Marina

Now you have to set up your camera. Set the f-stop (aperture) number to some higher value, e.g. 11, 16 or 22 etc... It gives a high contrast to your photograph and it also makes the background darker. My models were approximately 2 or 3 meters from a white wall, but the wall is a dark grey on the photos.

Czech Middle Mountains - just one light used for the photo

What more? Nothing, I promised it will be very easy. Just look around, check every shadow, play with the model's body shapes, simply experiment.

Share it if you like it ;)

If you want to learn more, visit Jiri Ruzek's photography course
Jiri Ruzek
Author: Jiri RuzekWebsite:
Czech uglamour nude art photographer, an official Fujifilm X-Photographer. Born Aug 29 1967 in Litomerice, living in Prague.
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