black backgrounds

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by stang96mj, Feb 10, 2010.

  1. stang96mj

    stang96mj TPF Noob!

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    I don't really know how to ask this because I didn't want to just steal someones picture to put up here as an example...lol How do you get a black background to be so dark when taking the picture, not in photoshop? (when i turn it into black and white) Feel free to post a pic to show me if you are thinking of what i'm thinking...lol Thanks!!
     
  2. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    you mean something like this?
    [​IMG]
    If so then, just shot it against black background and then desaturated it. IF were to take it a step further, then I'd boost the contrast up a drop.
     
  3. K.Li

    K.Li TPF Noob!

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    i think you can also set up lights on the subject but stop the light from spilling onto background with flags to cut out the ambient light
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The key to a black background, is to have less light reflecting off of the background, than off of the subject. You obviously need to set your exposure for the lighting on your subject...you will then want the background to be at least 2.5 stops darker.

    This doesn't mean that your background has to be black to start with, it can be white...it just has to be darker than your subject. You can create this by ensuring that the light you have on your subject, is not getting onto the background. One of the most basic ways of doing this, is to have the background be as far away (from the lights) while having the subject much closer to the lights. Another trick is to use 'flags' (something between the light and where you don't want it to go), but it also helps to use things like grids & barn doors on the lights, to keep them constrained to where you want the light.

    Of course, using a surface that absorbs a lot of light, rather than reflects it, is helpful. Black velvet, for example, eats a whole lot of light.
     
  5. stang96mj

    stang96mj TPF Noob!

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    How would I use flags? And how would I use grids or barn doors? Sorry not THAT knowledgeable in Photography yet...LOL
     
  6. stang96mj

    stang96mj TPF Noob!

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    Yes, like this. I am wanting to do some by the window with natural light.
     
  7. NateWagner

    NateWagner TPF Noob!

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    I would think that would be somewhat difficult.

    As was mentioned earlier the easiest ways are using the following method.
    1. the subject is as far from the background as possible
    2. the subject is as close to the lights as possible (the lights sort of have a DOF, meaning that if they are close to the subject the light falls off quickly, and if they are farther from the subject the light falls off slowly and thus inhibits the background).
    3. Use of flags etc. to block the excess light from hitting the background.

    If you are using window light the struggle will be that the light is coming from a distance and will thus not fall off quickly. It is still possible, though, again, it is much easier with your own lighting.

    As Big Mike suggested in this case your best bet would probably be to have a non-reflective background (such as black velvet) at a distance from the subject and as far from the light source (window) as possible. It won't necessarily work perfectly, but it's a start. And if you get it close, some play in LR/PS with curves should get it the rest of the way.
     
  8. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    But not impossible.

    [​IMG]

    This was shot with window light, which you can see was off to the left side some.

    The background was far enough back that it was substantially darker.
     
  9. NateWagner

    NateWagner TPF Noob!

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    absolutely, not impossible. Just more difficult.
     
  10. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Yeah (wasn't trying to imply that you said it couldn't be done).

    Doing this with window light, it would help a lot to be able to block off some of the light.

    In my case, the shape of the room I was shooting in did it for me.

    Totally awesome drawing made with the most state-of-the-art drafting software:
    [​IMG]

    Edit
    Damn, I forgot to put a red ring on the lens... Oh well, just imagine it - this kick-ass drafting software takes forever to load...
     
  11. NateWagner

    NateWagner TPF Noob!

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    yeah, kind of like built in flags. Would definitely do the trick.
     

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