Chiaroscuro is a photography technique and style often referred to as “clair obscur” or “extreme low key”. While the term chiaroscuro originates from the Renaissance period and is often associated with painting or drawing, it has evolved into the photographic world and now often simply means strong and bold contrasts between light and dark areas in a photograph.
This style of photography is often well-suited for portraits, still life, and boudoir, or simply to give a scene the illusion of being three-dimensional. It adds depth and a more mysterious atmosphere as it creates impact and contrast between highlights and shadows in a photo. Chiaroscuro is also a popular technique we often see used in black & white photos.
Below are 35 gorgeous and mysterious chiaroscuro photos that will surely inspire you to give this technique a shot! For those of you interested in learning more about chiaroscuro, this tutorial should give you a great head start.
Ryan.Berry – Chiaroscuro Self Portrait
Raúl Santos de la Cámara – Peek
Olivier Bain – Clair Obscur Studio Clara
Sean McGrath – A Portrait in Darkness
Stephen Bowler – Grim up North
Yiannis Theologos Michellis – Keeping it Low Key
Boudewijn Berends – The new tools.
theilr – Heads I win; tails you’re screwed.
Urbanicsgroup – Quiet Concerto