Producing images as high and low key, both in colour and black and white, I found to be really tricky, partly because I didn’t really feel as though I knew what I was doing but also because I felt that it was moving so far from reality that I wasn’t comfortable with the results. A member of a local camera club, Nicky Gwynne-Jones FRPS, (more about her later) has really become something of an expert in high key photography, particularly bird images and somehow seems to get the balance right to the point that they still look realistic.
Maybe it was the subject that was unsuitable or maybe this just demonstrates how difficult it is to convert a colour image into high and low key successfully. I certainly felt that the black and white images were more successful, although only marginally. For both of the black and white images I used the high and low key presets in Silver FX Pro and made minor local adjustments to bring some detail into the bird’s feathers. I still felt that they were quite extreme and would maybe have worked better had the background been lighter.
For the coloured images I used the levels facility in Photoshop Elements and now that I see the results side by side I wonder if I maybe didn’t push the high key one far enough, although when I did it only looked dull and over exposed. I feel that this is a fairly specialised area that needs a lot of practice before you get it right, and, you need to have a image that lends itself to this treatment to start with.