Dogwood 52: Assignment #13 "High Key Portrait"

Some friends and I are doing the Dogwood 52 Week photography challenge. We submit a photo each week on a given "assignment" along with commentary and discussion. This week's assignment was:

[Portrait] High Key: Expose to the right and create a light, airy high key portrait.

The submissions follow in order submitted along with the photographer's commentary. We'll add other commentary and critique from the group as it comes in.


I have never shot a photo with these theme, so this is my best interpretation of "High Key" portrait. I may have broken the rules, but I was messing around with my dark hair blending in with the background to bring out my overexposed portrait. I am in the process of moving so I wanted to have some messiness bokeh in there for fun.


I wanted to use film for this assignment so I set up flashes, adjusted exposures with my digital, posed for a couple rolls of hash light flashes hoping to get something nice.
And then disaster struck! I home develop and my two pieces of film got stuck together during development. About 10 shots were completely destroyed and many of the rest were wrecked with weird stains and very, very low contrast.
It was actually brilliant, I think! I like high key film with lens flares and distortion. It creates a spacey affect that is very unique. In my case, these were even more emphasized along with rough film grain. I ended up with exactly the shots I was hoping to get!
I meant to get a shot of my setup, but forgot. At least in this strip you can see that I'm holding one of my flashes in my hand out of frame. It's got a soup container from a thai restaurant stuffed with paper towels on it so make a really diffuse flash that I thought would look nice.
Notes for the future: using a cookie to cast shadows in my flash would have worked a lot better, so would have including something that was reflective; HP5 in Diafine is really smooth and actually wiped away a lot of the harsh flash lighting my digital picked up; film grain is great.


Hallway in the middle of the night...probably not the best time for the "airy" portrait, but alas here I was. And it's not every day I see blonde hair in Tokyo! There's a style of Japanese dining that revolves around red lanterns, and that would need to be my light source. There's a surprising amount of dynamic range just along the lantern surface, and I like the red hues it highlighted on the model's face,


Can't go wrong with Miami beach lighting for a high-key portrait.


The Littlest Brother. I had every intention of trying studio lighting for this assignment but I was unable to set something up within the time constraints. So instead, you get my slightly blurry brother at a wedding. Turns out trying to take pictures of 18 month olds is challenging.