High Key is a premium Lightroom preset that produces neutral whites and unsaturated hues. It illuminates and enhances a photo’s natural look without having to intensify elements. All its settings combine to create a stylish and elegant look.
This preset is ideal for high key images, those with white and bright backgrounds. You can also use it to reduce the warm yellow hues of sunlight and the cool blues of artificial light. This specific aesthetic can be applied to various types of photography, like portraiture, landscapes, and pets.
It is good to note that High Key specializes in images that feature travel, fashion, flat lays, and interiors or real estate. If processing multiple images, this professional preset will give all of them a sophisticated look.
Brightens Images Natural Light
Sunny Brilliance. The preset begins its enhancements by first filling images with light. It bumps up the exposure a bit. This simple, fundamental, adjustment gives it more light to work with. It proceeds to soften colors lowering contrast. After all, the preset aims to keep the natural, tender, look. It refines all settings without boosting them to the point of artificiality.
It is easy to notice the result. The After photo above is brighter and livelier. Try to compare the light directed at the dish: High Key removes the unnecessary gold hues and tones the colors down. Notice how much whiter the plate and cloth are, too.
Produces Neutral Whites
True Whites. High Key does make it a point to enforce its neutral white motif. In other words, it sets the white balance and color temperature as accurately as possible. It, therefore, eliminates blue or yellow hues from harsh light sources. To create this look and keep the photo looking natural, High Key optimizes all tones. It illuminates the light regions and darkens shadows.
Try to compare the Before and After images above. The cat’s fur in the After photo now looks whiter, even fluffier. Its face and ears also have just the right amount of shadows to keep them defined. Even if the photo is shot indoors, High Key manages to improve light and thoroughly apply its bright white aesthetic.
Softens Colors and Reinforces Midtones
Understated Elegance. To further enhance its neutral yet elegant style, High Key subdues colors but keeps them defined. It produces this look by lowering vibrance and increasing clarity. By tweaking the vibrance slider instead of saturation, High Key is able to retain most of the natural look. This is particularly useful when enhancing skin tones in portraits.
Examine the results of these adjustments in the After photo above. The colors are noticeably less intense: the vivid green leaves now look dark and muted; the vibrant orange pot now has complex brown tones; the blue hues of the bicycle frame look more metallic. Even with the less intense colors, observe how these beautifully look against the bright yet neutral white wall.
Refines Color Saturation
Lightened Hues. The gorgeous aesthetic of the High Key preset is also defined by its light, undersaturated, colors. Aside from its previous color enhancements, the preset refines saturation in Lightroom’s HSL panel. Here, it significantly decreases the saturation of all colors except warm ones. As a result, red, yellow, and orange would remain vivid enough to serve as accents.
In the After photo above, notice how the preset mutes the plant’s green hues. These are now closer to gray. After all, when desaturating colors, hues are pulled towards the gray regions. This is essential in creating High Key’s cohesive motif. This works very well in the example above, as the preset complements the kitten’s monochromatic fur. The light on its face is now neutral as well.
High Key is for Lightroom Mobile, Desktop and…
Like all our presets, you can absolutely use High Key preset as is, right out of the box. With any preset, you might need to make adjustments to accommodate your specific camera, settings, lighting and subject matter.
- Entirely Adjustable
- Compatible with Lightroom 4, 5, 6 and CC
- Performs with both PC, Mac, and Mobile
- Applicable to both RAW and JPG images