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Project 52 Week 11: “High Key”

Welcome to week 11 of the 52 Week Pet Photography Project Blog Circle!  This week’s topic was quite a challenge for me.  The topic is “High Key”… and I admit, I had no idea what that means!

After reading several articles and checking in with photography learning websites, the simplest definition that made this “click” for me was:  “When a photographs light is exaggerated to the bright end of the spectrum it is called “high key” photography. When it is slanted to the dark end of the spectrum it is called “low key” photography”.  I used my histogram to help with with this assignment since I struggled a bit with what my final “goal” for  the image and what it was to look like.

Tuesday was my day to tackle this assignment.  I only had 1 dog walk in the AM (mom and dad work in hospitals so they don’t get the day off!)  due to Blizzard Stella hitting hard!  I hoped to have electricity long enough to work with a studio light indoors.

My setup:

White background paper.  Sunroom window light behind the paper and to the right side.  White reflector on my right.  Alien Bee 800 with a medium soft box on my left.

Lens:  Canon 24-70 mm

Model:  Kota

Treats:  Dehydrated Steak

Kota was very cooperative!  She was tired after our first jaunt in the snow storm 🙂  She usually despises getting on the seamless paper (I usually place a bed down for her).  Today she did a nice job lying right on the paper!

White is definitely a challenge to get “white”.

I upped the exposure in camera exposing for more of the white background. What I ended up doing in post is bringing my highlights and lights a little bit to the right and adding a slight bit of contrast.


Kota HIgh Key 3 1 of 1
“Am I doing this right?”


Kota HIgh Key 2 1 of 1
“Look mom, I’m lying down on the paper!”


High Key
“Up close and personal”


Feel free to critique me here!   This was very new to me and I’m always looking to learn and improve.

Thank you for stopping by.  Next up on our in our blog circle is Rochelle from Dark Sapphire Photography , Nelson , New Zealand.  Click on the link at the end of each post and check out some amazing photos on a variety of topics from pet photographer’s around the world!  Have a wonderful weekend!

18 thoughts on “Project 52 Week 11: “High Key””

  1. I think these look great!! Getting a white background truly white without blowing it out is really difficult. Great job!!

    1. Thanks, Kelly! White is definitely a challenge – even after I posted the photos and saw them against the “white” page I thought I should take them back into lightroom!

  2. How did Kota fair sitting on the paper? Hunter (and even some of the shelter dogs I photograph on seamless) start sitting up and then find their paws slowly sliding forward. Hunter almost always ends up like Kota in her second photo.

    I really love your first shot! Kota’s eyes and rich colors just pop so well against the white. It’s a nice contrast!

    1. I couldn’t believe she sat on the paper! I was about to put her bed down and she actually “sat”! I can never get that at the shelter and always have to put something down that won’t slide on top of the paper. Thanks! 🙂

    1. I hate autocorrect on a phone. My comment should have read “I think you hit this nail right on the head.” Feel free to delete my other comment.

  3. I have been enjoying this ‘high key pet photography’ blog. A dog photography fundraiser for a local animal shelter is in the works – I have volunteered to photograph and am considering high key, as it works with all dogs and is so ‘happy’. I am hoping to learn how to light the background separate from the dog. And what’s the best background? Am thinking white vinyl (for easy cleanup), but hope it won’t be too slippery.

    1. HI! I’d go with white seamless paper for the pups! It’s super easy clean up! I’ve never used vinyl with the shelter dogs. Good luck!!!

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