Glamour Lighting SetupsSubmitted by Michael on Thu, 2011-01-06 08:26

How innocent: High key lighting from low angle

Duesseldorf, Germany, my photo studio, 5:30pm: We have already made some really nice low key photos of Kate’s dragon tattoo on her buttocks, but we both have much more energy. Let's think about a variation of what we just have done. So how about quickly turning our lighting into a high key lighting setup?

It makes good sense; high key lighting underlines the pureness, cleanness and innocence of our subject, which is...well...buttocks and her tattoo:

Here’s the lighting diagram of this shoot:


Lighting diagram high key lighting setup


Model: Kate
Photography: Michael Zelbel
Postproduction: Gina Hernandez
Graphic Design: AlexZlatev


I wish you good light!
-- Michael


Related Links:


Very fine photo shoot!

I was waiting for a new post!
And as I expected it is great.
I'm getting a lot of help from you, thank you so much!
Keep on posting

Princess Nesicha, I am glad that I can be of help!

Great post!
Thanks for share :)

Thanks a lot,very useful,I´ll try it tomorrow in my studio.

Oscar, please post a link to your results, if you like!

Great lovely shots and yet another excellent example tutorial!

Thanks a lot, cousin!

Thanks for the hint!

Ok.. my pics are not as sexies as yours... but the lighting setup is almost the same :)


As usual... my post is in the wrong place.... sorry (again...and as usual :s )

Awesome photos! Thanks for sharing!

Great tutorial Michael, thank you!

I was wondering if you could do a video showing us how you sync your flashes. I would be very thankful to know how. I haven't seen any radio transmitters in your videos and even though I know you can sync some flashes with each other, sometimes you hide the flashes, in that case how do you trigger them if the light from one flash can't reach the other?

Thank you once again!

tout vos setup sont superbe et tres bien expliqué mais dommage qu'elle ne soit pas en francais. bravo



Thanks for writing about this. There’s a heap of great tech info on the internet. You’ve got a lot of that info here on your web site.

Hard to get my thick German accent? Here's the transcript!


Hi fellow photographer, how is it going? I’m Michael Zelbel and with me I still got Cousin Kate who you might know from another blog post where we shot some photos of her Chinese dragon tattoo on her wonderful lower back and today we will shoot the same tattoo but in a different style. Today we will go high key with a lot of light. Kate one question, your dragon she is named Lucy, right? Can Lucy spit fire like a really bad dragon can do, huh?

No Lucy cannot spit fire, she is a nice dragon!

Ah okay! So Lucy won’t give us enough light, so we will throw a lot of light on to Lucy and burn it away with light, you will see.

Lighting Diagram:
So this photo shoot the model is always showing us her back of course and the camera is on f/11 tripod, nicely sharp on 1/250s because that is the fastest sync speed of the camera. The back drop is a simple white paper back drop and the light is coming out of the speed light for shoot for umbrellas; that is one camera left in a 45 degree angle pointing from a light, start pointing down to the model’s buttocks and exactly the same camera right. And there is a 3rd speed light which is laying on the ground together with the shoot for umbrella so it is pointing up to her buttocks. So it is a nice triangle of light making sure every part of her buttocks is absolutely in light and all of these speed lights are in one and the same TTL group and they are all on plus 1.5 so they are over exposing and it is pretty over exposed but it is not up to a degree where we would loose the skin texture, it is just too bright. If I want to be really safe I would probably go to plus 1or plus 1.5 and then later on in light room, turn up the exposure artificially. But I tried it out and for me it turned out 1.5 has given me a really nicely high key result straight out of the camera. All right that is already it!

So this were some really nice high key shots and I think the big take away is, if you have got a subject which is living off contrast like a dark tattoo on the skin. Then high key is a technique which emphasis set contrast and so it is really suitable for these sorts of situations and yeah, I think you should give it a try. I hope to see you on the next video next Thursday then I wish you good light.

Subscribe here and don't miss any video!

Simply subscribe to "Photo Talk" and be the first one to receive a notification whenever a new video is added here. No spam. Every eMail features an unsubscribe link in it's footer in case you don't want notifications anymore.