FinalGear Photo Assignment #23 - "Low Key"


Hormone Induced
Jun 21, 2005
Alberta, Canada
The Jeep of Theseus, Angry Wagon
OK, this is a somewhat advanced topic, so there's going to be an explanation.

Lots of you know how to manage your highlights; this is about managing your shadows. Low key lighting is a classic technique that was more predominant in the B&W film days and is not easily recreated properly in post - this takes a bit of skill and practice to get right.

Here's a Flickr gallery of examples, along with a more detailed explanation of the subject.

Addendum: Vignetting the shit out of your photo does not make it low-key.

Timeframe: Your entry must be emailed to on or before midnight Mountain Time, March 1st, 2010.
Prize: Bragging rights, and a position in the Winners' Gallery!

Restrictions: Please follow the following restrictions in order to submit an eligible entry.

- Your image must be a maximum of 1000 pixels (height or width), and a minimum of 500 pixels (height or width).
- Your submission email should have the title of the image and "Contest #23" in the subject. Please title your images, as the poll must have some way to distinguish between them - I don't want half the vote options to be "Untitled."
- Also, when you email your submission, make sure you include your FinalGear screen name so I know who's submitting what!
- Only one submission per user. Please do not create multiple accounts to submit more images, as it is 1) unethical, and 2) statistically reduces your chance of winning anyway.
- Your image must NOT contain any borders or signatures or anything to identify the photo as your own. The images will be stripped of EXIF data as to make the vote 100% anonymous. Please do not mention which photo is yours, and please do not post that image anywhere until the contest is over.
- Your image must have been taken after the contest has started, I will not accept old photos that happen to match the subject. This contest is designed to promote creativity, not find out who has the biggest backlog of good photos.
- Your image may be altered in whatever imaging software you choose, without actually altering the content of the photograph. (i.e. you can alter the curves as much as you want, but you can't paste in David Hasselhoff.) Editing out distracting non-content objects such as power lines is also acceptable.
- Please keep the submissions tasteful and without gore/nudity. I like nude photography as much as the next guy, but this is a public forum. Don't submit anything you wouldn't put up in a public area.

If you have any comments or suggestions about the rules of the FinalGear contests, please voice them in the appropriate forum, or in this thread if you want.

When submitting your image, feel free to suggest a topic for the next contest!

Good luck, and have fun!
Last edited:
going through my shots from last week and found the perfect submission for this... too bad it was taken a week ago :(

just fudge the time and date....? I also fall into the same problem as you. off to reshoot it i guess, and bring some proper equipment this time around.
Y'know, BCS, I'm usually pretty defensive of you in this respect, but have we ever had a contest thread that's been closed on time and had its respective voting thread posted promptly? Do you really not have the 15 minutes?
Well, it was more along the lines of waiting in the hope that more than 3 people were going to send something in on an extended-length assignment, but you can't win 'em all.