"High Key Photography" Visual Critique
July 2020 by Robert Chaplin

Please keep in mind that, the visual critique was performed on a jpeg.
It will not be perfect but it is intended as a visual aid to express my written critique.


Maria Pilar Geada
Score 89

Well composed, with a bright and airy exposure teetering on the edge of high key. See the side-by-side visual critique for a higher key version.

Curly Hair Model

Robert Karafel
Score 85

Good focus on this bright image. The model is well exposed for a bright image but this falls a little short of what is traditionally considered a high key image. The model’s position in the frame competes for attention with a detailed background on the left side of the image. See the side by side comparison. Notice when the background is gone the subject’s proximity to the right side of the frame is emphasized?


Floating in Light

Yevette Shapiro
Score 84

The choice of lighting reveals detail. The subject crowds the lower portion of the frame. Also, notice the yellow tones at the edge of the petal and lower left portion of the frame. The yellow areas and crowding the bottom could have been dealt with during processing. See the side by side comparison.

Bougainvillea in Old Glass Bottle

Daniel Holmes
Score 78

The image seems adequately composed for a still-life. Not sure the green glass bottle was the best choice for this challenge. The grungy antique feel of the bottle feels inconsistent with the bright airy feel of a high key image. Look close at the bougainvillea bloom; notice the color gradient inconsistencies? Notice the lost detail in the brighter magenta portions of the petals? This can happen when the color saturation is boosted too much. Compare the side-by-side visual critique for processing ideas.

Harley High Key

Ivan Prasin
Score 82

See the side by side comparison. Harley’s face had some lost detail in the highlights. This was corrected in processing. Also, notice the visual critique has added contrast.

I'm Seeing Double

inna Malostovker
Score 85

The image has a good composition but looks tonally flat (gray). While it is a bright image, it isn’t what would be traditionally considered high key. Compare the side by side edit. Did the high key processing and contrast strengthen the image?

Molly in High Key

Norene Monahan
Score 89

Interesting pose. Notice the element in the upper left corner? It is inconsistent with the rest of the image and isn’t necessary for the composition. This image is bright but it falls a little short of what is traditionally considered high key. The side by side comparison is a crop of the upper left area. Look around Molly’s nose and on the highlight edges. Do you see the fringing? This happens with some lenses but can be removed in Lightroom or Adobe Camera RAW. The image on the right has it removed. You may need to zoom in to see it.

Morning Mist

Yevette Shapiro
Score 90

Well composed and exposed. The panoramic orientation is appropriate. See the side by side (over/under for your image) and notice how I was able to take the sky to another level of high key.

Paper, Plastic, Wood and String

John McKnight
Score 86

One of the challenges to photographing something white is to make it white, and not gray while maintaining detail. Compare the side by side images. Does the processed image on the right express high key more than your version on the left?

Roseate Spoonbill in Flight

Yevette Shapiro
Score 85

Very nice capture of a Roseate in flight. See the side by side comparison. Your version has a gray sky with some tonality changes. The high key statement could have been refined through processing.

Shells and Yolk

John McKnight
Score 88

Great idea and concept that is well composed. The exposure is well done but falls short of high key. See the side by side comparison. Notice how your background is gray with shadows from some of the shells. There is also an odd shape (anomaly) at the lower right edge of the frame.

Sweet Dreams

Barbara Thompson
Score 89

Well composed and, airy and ethereal image. Light color hair can be a challenge to keep detail and not blowout when creating a high key image. See the side by side comparison and look for the bright areas where I tried to repair the blown out areas and add some detail. Did it improve the image? Does it even matter for this image.

We meet every 2nd and 4th Thursday at:

Evelyn Greer Park (Pinecrest) 
8200 SW 124th Street 
Pinecrest, FL 33157