That high key colour effect...


TPF Noob!
Jan 21, 2012
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Hey guys,
I'd really like to be apply this type of effect to my portraits but don't know where to start. It's that high key, kind of washed out look. Love it.

This guy does it well (FYI Lingerie photos...)
BOUDOIR Series IV: Beverly L. | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
BOUDOIR Series III: Krystar P. | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

I imagine this is something that can be done in Lightroom (which I am learning), maybe in a similar way to cross processing.
What's it called?
Can anyone point me to a tutorial or some settings to start with?

Much appreciated :D
Welcome to the forum.

These really aren't 'high key'. High key is matching bright clothing/accessories to a bright background.
The first one is shot with a bright window in the background, and the background and highlights on the model are blow out. That's not something that you really do in post processing, it is something that you do while taking the shot in the first place.
When shooting into a bright scene light that, it's not uncommon to get lens flare and/or a general lack of contrast...which maybe what you're asking about. You can work toward or emphasize that effect in the processing stage...but it's best done by the placement and exposure settings of the camera.
You can do something similar with a gradiant - (white) into neutral or opaque.
In LR, maybe use a gradiant overwhich you can erase some away with the brush.

In PS, i'd create a new layer above the one you are working on and use a gradiant like I mentioned and then play with the layer opacity until you come up with something you like. Of course you can mask that gradiant layer and then paint away any unwanted areas until you are satisfied.

All that said, use light accordingly when you are shooting to have the initial effect, in other words, you can do it in processing, but it wont look that great if trying to create this effect in processing only while using standard lit portrait as the basis. (sure I've done it if you know what you are doing and spend the time, it can be done, but who has 4 hrs to spend on one portrait in processing)

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