Tutorial Tuesday:: Low Key Photography

Anyone else loving Tutorial Tuesdays as much as I am?  This week's prompt of low-key was the inspiration I needed to finally capture a scene that I get all giddy about every single night.  Low key means that there is only one light source illuminating your subject in an otherwise unlit backdrop.  Pooh Bear can't sleep without his Tyke Lite.  I love and hate this thing...it's a portable nightlight, which is awesome, but it devours batteries at an alarming rate.  We use rechargeables thankfully, but I seem to have to change them every other day.  Anyhoo...that's neither here nor there...sorry for the rambling.

Every night, before I go to bed, I do my final check on Wyatt to make sure he's not dangling from the bed, sleeping on the floor, in between the bed and the wall...all true stories...and this is exactly what I see.  His darling little face, puffy little lips, cute button nose.  And yes, he really sleeps with his hands tucked under his face like a little cherub.  Almost makes me forget the insanity he puts me through during the daylight hours.  Almost.

I know this is tutorial Tuesday, so I'm obligated to tell you how I got this image.  That being said, please note that I had one shot.  The click of the mirror woke him up.  Oh well, I love it anyway.

1.  I set up my camera on the tripod at bed level before I even entered the room and attached my camera.
2.  I took a guess at the settings I'd need...I did okay, but I wish I'd been able to take a few more.  I set the ISO to 1600 since it was literally pitch black in the room other than the Tyke Lite.  I opened the aperture to 1.8 (I used my 50mm) and set the shutter to 1/30. 
3.  I set the timer to take the pic so I wouldn't blur the image with handshake.
4.  I manually focused since the lens was not able to lock onto anything in the dark.
5.  I pressed the shutter and waited the 5 seconds to wake up and infuriate my little angel.
6.  In photoshop, all I did was brighten the image slightly and ran a noise reduction filter.

Tutorial Tuesday


  1. Ah, snap. Just re-read the original tutorial, and Sarah specifically said to use the lowest ISO possible to get a crisp image. Fail. Oh well, you live & learn. I'll try again soon!

  2. I love that your photo shows the mood of the image - it's perfect....and you can always try again another day. very sweet.

  3. Awww, this photo is long going to be a treasure for you! I don't know; could you even have gotten the photo if you reduced the ISO? I mean, it's not like you could adjust the nightlight and make it stronger. . . I don't think. Unless you put it closer to his face, but if he woke up at a "click", I bet that would have awaken him too!

  4. Aww. I think you did AWESOME. I think you needed that ISO, I guess the shutter speed could have been slower but he might have woke up in the middle of it. Not sure but this looks great.


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