What does high-key photography mean?

High-key photography is characterised by light, airy and fresh images with loads of light tones. Basically, it is a light photo with few shadows/dark tones. One of the more common ways of achieving this in wildlife photography is to find an animal in the shade with a light background. For example, an antelope seeking shade under a tree with the scorching sun behind it. Of course, this is easier said than done sometimes. Find this, and over-expose the image to lighten the background even further. Voila!

High-key photography. Two lions resting in a narrow sliver of shade.

Related Terms