Blackbackground photography.

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by ghache, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. ghache

    ghache TPF Noob!

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    Hi all!

    I have a question about shooting using a blackbackground.

    how should i setup my flashes to flash on my model in order to keep my background as black as possible????? i didnt try it yet but how do you keep the backgroup from getting lighten up from main flashes?
    any tips and technique to share?
     
  2. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  3. Big Mike

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

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    Firstly, set your background as far back and your model as far forward as possible. Light falls off at an inverse square to the distance, so the farther away your background is from the lights (and the closer the model is to them) the darker your background can be.

    Also, you can control the spread of your light with modifiers. For example, an umbrella will spread light all over the place, but a softbox will constrain the light to one direction. If you put a grid in front of the softbox, the light is even more directional. You can use things like barn doors or grids on other lights, you can use 'flags' or 'gobo' to go between the light and the background, to keep the light off of the background.

    Using these techniques, you can make a white wall show up as black in a photo. But it can help to use a material or surface that absorbs light. Black velvet for example.

    Actually, for many photographic purposes, you may not want a totally black background...it often looks better if it has a hint of texture or lightness to it.
     
  4. ghache

    ghache TPF Noob!

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    I see, i have an umbrella that i use as a softbox. i will try to use it the other way (with the cover on it) to bounce the light over my subject.
    i will experiment with it.


    Thanks again for the tips mike.
     
  5. ChasK

    ChasK TPF Noob!

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    A hair light or accent light or both can help to get good separation of your subject and background. I think with accent lights less is more.
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    An umbrella still spreads the light out quite a bit compared to an actual softbox. But the good part about that, is that because it's spreading out, it's not going to travel as far. So get your light as close to the model as possible and get them both as far away from the BG as possible.

    Also, if you have any ambient light in the room, use as fast of a shutter speed as you can (while still syncing with the flash), to kill that ambient exposure.
     
  7. ghache

    ghache TPF Noob!

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    an accent light is a light positioned to the side of the subject?
     
  8. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    The biggy is getting your subject away from the background. Eight feet or more, if possible, and getting the light(s) close to your subject.

    Using flash you can also use your shutter speed to make the background darker. Leave your shutter speed set to the max flash x-sync speed of your camera.

    It's also a good idea to have the flash sync on the rear/second curtain.

    An umbrella can be made to function much like a softbox by taping black paper over the front to make the opening rectangular, rather than round. That will help control where the light goes.
     
  9. ChasK

    ChasK TPF Noob!

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    Or behind or anywhere else you want to put a little light on the subject. I guess a hair light is technically an accent light on the hair.
     
  10. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    http://www.professionalphotography101.com/portrait_lighting/lighting_names.html

    The MAIN light is generally to the side at around 45° to the lens axis. Which side the MAIN light is on and how high it is, depends on the lighting effect, broad, short, Rembrandt, butterfly, etc you are wanting.

    The KEY light is usually on or very near the lens axis and above the camera.

    Accent lights are placed depending on their function. HAIR lights are usually slightly behind and above the subject. KICKER or RIM lights are placed for effect with RIM lights generally right behind the subject and KICKERs on the side opposite the HAIR light.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2010
  11. ghache

    ghache TPF Noob!

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    Thanks!
     
  12. Big Mike

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

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    I've always heard and used 'Key light' and 'Main light' synonymously. It's the light that is primarily used to light the subject, it's size & position will determine where the lit areas are and where the shadows fall.

    The light that is typically nearer to the camera's axis is the Fill light. It is used to add light (more or less evenly across the whole scene), especially the shadow areas, thus allowing you to control the lighting ratio between the lit and shadow areas.
     

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