Technique Tuesday: Chiaroscuro in Photography


I spent some time in Utah this past November, and was struck by the colors of the directional light and shadow on the rugged buttes looming over the landscape.

Artists of the Renaissance period would work on a medium-toned colored paper and used light and dark paints, inks, and other materials to build depth within the image, adding form and dimension along the way. The term “chiaroscuro” has come to define images in which there is a strong contrast between light and dark areas that help inform the shape and form of a subject.

Renaissance artists often painted by candlelight, which provided it’s own harsh directional lighting. With photography we are painting in our own way with natural light we’ve been gifted, or our own artificial setups.Obviously it helps to have strong directional light when the sun is low on the horizon, but still high enough to illuminate your subject.

2 Responses to “Technique Tuesday: Chiaroscuro in Photography”

  1. Beautiful images indeed. Thank you for the lesson!

  2. Keith Young says:

    I’m a huge fan of your fantastic work, Art. Thank you for sharing your amazing talent.

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