Low Key - Dog Photography 52 Week Project: Week 17

Here is the original image and below you'll see my first attempt ever at changing a background in an image to black.

Here is the original image and below you'll see my first attempt ever at changing a background in an image to black.

Low Key is the theme for week 17 of the 52 week dog photography project. A few weeks ago we did High Key and I didn't love it. I think I might like low key better. When I google low key images I like them better than high key. Liking them and being able to do them myself are two different things though.

Low key light accentuates the contours of an object by throwing areas into shade while a fill light or reflector may illuminate the shadow areas to control contrast. I am using photos I've previously taken and will attempt to use post processing to create my low key images. However I think to do this well, being in a studio and using lighting would create a much truer low key effect.

On Tuesday afternoon, I got home from work around 2pm. I set aside two hours to work on this blog post. I'd decided I was going to use photoshop to darken the background of a couple of images I'd already shot to create low key photos for week 17. I don't have a studio nor do I use lighting very often so I thought this would be the easiest approach. I just need to google "change the background to black in photoshop cc" and I'd be able to do this, right? 


Two hours later I was frustrated. The first couple of videos I watched and tried weren't in photoshop cc and there were just enough changes between that version and cc that I couldn't figure it out. Also, I have a love/hate relationship with the quick selection tool. That didn't help.

I then found a Kelby One video and watched it. It helped but what I also learned is it is much easier to do this when your subject is up against a plain wall or plain background vs outside with a bunch of different distractions in the background. The quick selection tool gets fooled by the background and my photoshop skills aren't that great which left me frustrated.

At this point, I seriously (very seriously) considered deleting my link for this week and bowing out. I don't like posting images on my blog that I'm not proud of BUT I also don't like to quit. 

Wednesday morning I work up and thought okay, let's give this another shot. I was able to somewhat figure it out this time by going back to the original video I was watching. 

So... it worked but I don't love the results at all. My edges aren't refined enough for Butler's fur. If I had more time I could try and figure out how to do this better but I've spent over 4 hours on this project this week and that's all the time I have. Today I must shower.

Here is my result. Ugh... I should've cropped off more of the bottom of the photo. That would've helped the final version.

This is a blog circle and next up is Darlene with Pant the Town Pet Photography serving MA and NH. Be sure to click the links at the end of each post to see each photographer's take on low key images.