Nik Collection High Key Filter on Sony Photographs

I’d written previously about applying Nic Collection film simulation effects on Sony photographs. The collection of filters contains many presets, plus the ability to customise the look you are after. This includes applying film grain, dust and scratches if you really want to go the whole hog.

Other Filters Are Available

The collection isn’t just about film simulation. There are many effects specific to particular genres of photography, including landscape, black and white, analogue etc. One such filter I was experimenting with fell into the Portrait pre-sets, and I found this useful on a particular set of photos I was including in a recent video.

The Very Average Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS

The small set of photos were taken shortly before sunset, in a location that didn’t get direct sunlight. Also, I was using the very average Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS, whose second-hand retail price of £139 tells you everything you need to know about its quality for photography. I bought this lens for video, so it’s only ever used for stills in an emergency! Here’s an example shot taken that afternoon.

Shadows are accentuated in this Sony photograph

Website compression aside, you can see quite a bit of detail is lost in the shadows. This image was literally straight out of the camera and I suspect masking could have made some improvements, but this is where the Nic Collection High Key Portrait filter came in useful…

Nik Collection high key portrait filter applied

Pulling Details From Shadows

Of course the ‘look’ is something you either like or don’t like. It has its place, but in this instance I quite like the results. It certainly pulls those details from those shadows.

The great thing about using presets like Nik Collection (and no, I am not sponsored by the owner, DxO!), is that it removes the time taken in post production and gives a look quickly. Now, I’m not suggesting that you do this on all your photographs, I certainly don’t, but this particular scenario is a good example of how it can work to your advantage.

Applying filters for a particular look

Here were a set of photographs that were destined for the recycle bin. They’re not my proudest moment, but using them as over-lays in the video helped set the scene of the location we were filming in. By giving the set of photographs a look, it helps establish a mood.

Setting the look and mood for a set of photographs

To be honest, this is lazy editing. I simply hit one button and the look was created. I made some other minor alterations to tone and contrast before applying the filter, but having this tool at my disposal helps speed-up my wordflow, especially when it comes to creating a set of photos of a specific location for our videos. The Nik Collection filter tool allows much more than a one-button solution. All the elements that go to make the look can be customised, and includes sliders that don’t exist in Photoshop or Lightroom, like Dynamic High Key.

With the crappy lighting conditions and cloudless skies, it made sense to lean into the negative space in photographs like this one.

Nic Collection uses unique sliders like dynamic high key

Applying presets is not a habit I’m accustomed to, but I do have different sets of rules for different subjects. For street photography, I make very few adjustments but allow myself more creative freedom when it comes to overlays in video.

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