Chiaroscuro in photography

Am 12/11/2020 in 18:14

A staple of art, chiaroscuro was popularized by Renaissance painters such as Caravaggio. Also called low-key, this technique popular with photographers will give your images more intensity. Learn the basics about chiaroscuro and our tips for achieving that dramatic effect you want.


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Why use chiaroscuro in your shots? This light modulation technique brings relief and depth to the image. If shadow dominates, it is above all a matter of paralleling dark areas and lighter areas without transition or gradation to create a photogenic intensity and obtain a more intimate atmosphere. In portrait, chiaroscuro emphasizes the importance of the subject and catches the eye.


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How to achieve chiaroscuro? No need for professional equipment, make sure you are in a dark enough environment and position your subject in front of a single light source. Immortalizing your subject in the center of a window or light will create more contrast. For a more intense black, you can use a remote flash and to make your model stand out perfectly from the background, make sure that it stands away from it clearly. With your camera in manual mode, select the Spot exposure metering which measures the brightness on the central part of a face, or about 5% of the image.


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To get enough light and a sharp shot, increase the ISO sensitivity while keeping noise down and choose a low shutter speed without dropping the gear too far below your focal length. Often associated with black and white, chiaroscuro can also be achieved in a color photograph. Choose a RAW format so that you can fully retouch your photography in post-processing.


©Jade Mai, Isolation I, Yellow Korner


Ideal for adding character and reinforcing the character of an interior, a chiaroscuro photo print is perfectly suited to decorate an intimate bedroom or a contemporary living room. Opt for an online print on silver paper in an Aluminum Dibond finish covered with Acrylic Glass to highlight the intensity of your shots. For more depth and increase the perspectives of your composition, let yourself be seduced by the matte finish developed by our laboratory. Thanks to Zeinberg, photo printer for the Yellow Korner galleries, highlight your most beautiful chiaroscuro. 


© 2020 Justine Grosset