Unleashed Education Blog

Emerge Highs and Lows Top 10

emerge top 10 unleashed challenges May 22, 2024
Highs and Lows Top 10 May 2024

We're on Challenge number three of Emerge, Highs and Lows. The use of high key and low key imagery is very common in the world of art and photography. Their popularity can probably be attributed to them being a relatively easy way to create a mood and elicit an emotional response from the viewer.

High key imagery tends to bring with it more positive emotions. It’s bright, airy, clean look is a perfect way to convey joy and happiness.

On the other hand, low key images tend to have a more serious or dramatic mood and can even go as far as feeling dark and ominous.

For Highs and Lows, we asked our challengers to create images in either a high or low key style. We were not disappointed!

Here, in no particular order are our top 10 images for this challenge.

- Charlotte & Craig 🐶 📸 ✨

Amy Hodson | Wander Pet Photography

This light-coloured location has been well chosen and used to create a perfect high-key image, with depth used as an additional compositional technique to lead the eye through.

Debora Stacker | PicTails Pet Portraits

The dog's pose in this image is everything - we loved the tail up in the air like a flag! The cool tones are beautifully light and airy and the buildings in the background add a touch of interest.

Desiree Nickerson | Born 2 Run Photography

The crazy expression is the immediate drawcard in this high key image! The tones have been handled beautifully and appropriately, giving it a naturally bright and airy feel. 

Ginger Wick | Ginger Wick Photography

The pairing of model and location is perfect in this high key image, with the whites handled beautifully and additional interest provided by the hint of movement in the dog's pose.

Helene Longuet | Digression Photo

A low key image should automatically draw the viewer's eye to the brightest area, and this is exactly what happens in this gorgeous equine portrait. The eye is arresting and the shine in the horse's coat is perfection.

Juliette Bercovici | Juliette Bercovici

Darkness surrounds the subject in this low key image, with the barest touch of light coming in through the door and highlighting the subject. Love how the diagonal lines frame the subject and lead the eye down the stairs.

Katherine Gardiner

The dark tones of the subject has been well matched to the dark ground, with a heavy vignette feeling entirely appropriate to compliment the mood and feel.

Kristen Murray | Kristen Murray Photography

Dripping with chocolatey goodness, this image appears rich and velvety, without feeling contrived, achieved by perfect matching of the tones of the subject and background.

Marcie Fry | Marcie Fry Photography

Black on black is a great choice to create a low key image, but it's the side lighting and the dog's apprehensive expression coupled with the slightly off-kilter crop in this image that combine to give an intriguingly unsettled feeling.

Shandess Griffin | Shand and Your Dogs Photography

Creativity abounds in the unique use of patterns of light in this image. The positioning is perfect and the strips of brightness on the subject provide a strong contrast to the darkness of the rest of the image.  

Emerge is the second series in our Unleashed Challenge courses and is made up of 12 challenges over 6 months. It’s open to anyone who has completed our first course in the series, Embark.

So much more than just a challenge, the Unleashed Challenges are an invaluable educational resource that will help you build up a go-to list of shots to help create variety in your work. Designed for anyone to be able to complete whether you just want to photograph your own dog or you are a professional pet photographer.

If you'd like to know more head over here to register your interest and we'll send you all the details when enrolment for Embark next opens in May 2025.

Start your pet photography journey with 100 free daily tips!

That's over 3 months worth of daily tips covering topics like working with light, obtaining expression, camera settings, shooting action, composition, using the location, dog handling tricks – and so much more. Delivered direct to your inbox so you can read and absorb straight away (no homework required).

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.