There are other rooms in my house, of course, but I started reading up on photographing a low key image outdoors, thought it might be a challenge, and decided to give it a whirl.
I had two choices. First, I could use one light and take the image outside after 9:00 p.m. when it was very dark. Second, I could use Mother Nature's light at the almost-end-of-the-day, and do the rest in post processing.
There is a misconception in the first option. Low key does not necessarily mean lack of light. "Low key" means the vast majority of the tones in the scene are darker than middle gray. Low key is independent of illumination. I read that it is possible to take a low key image in the daylight, if you find shadows, or perhaps late enough in the day where the light is waning.
Let me share my low key image below, then we can talk about how I got there.
You don't "place" Danny. Danny decides where he wants to be and you hope it's where you might want him to be and then he stays there for quite some time of his own accord. He happened to place himself about 12 feet from our chain link fence, smack dab where that light was hitting his side. That is the last light of the day heading toward a sunset.
I followed the directions from the readings and research that I did. Camera at ISO 100, change the speed to either let in or decrease the light (my speed was actually at 1/1000 to decrease the light). Be sure the subject is placed at least 10 feet from any background (so that 12 feet worked). Some other specifics: I used f/5.6, spot metering, and the focal length was 180mm. In post, I took most of the golden light out of Danny's coat to keep the image in a simple color scheme. I darkened the background a bit.
And there you have it. It's fun to experiment like this. Having done this once, I might do some things a little differently the next time. I still want to shoot the studio shot and see how that turns out. To see more low key images, the blog circle is up and ready to go. Start here with Kim Hollis of BARKography based in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Have a wonderful weekend!