How to shoot flowers on black backgrounds

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Iron Flatline, Mar 6, 2006.

  1. Hi.

    I've recently seen a number of shots of flowers on black backgrounds.

    How do I shoot something like this best? I know I can get rolls of black paper down at the photo supply store. Do I just light it with incandescents and/or use some flash?

    What other techniques might yield good flowers on black background shots?

    Example:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Shoot it like a product shot. If you've ever been to a TV or movie studio and seen a green/blue screen setup, it's the same kind of thing. You have a background that curves when it hits the floor, instead of making a 90-degree angle, so that the background is seamless.

    Light it up dead on to eliminate shadows, which you'll get if you try to use a flash when shooting. If you're using a DSLR, or a MF with a polarioid back, you could try orienting some strobes to eliminate the shadows, but that would be much more difficult.
     
  3. crawdaddio

    crawdaddio TPF Noob!

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    ^Yup. I've had good luck with black matte board and two table lamps. Black velvet would work better though............
     
  4. Ok, thanks, black paper it is. Just wanted to make sure there isn't an alternative technique - eithr during shoot or post-processing.

    I figured I would create a black studio space with the black paper - curved at the bottom. They sell 53 inch wide paper rolls (20 feet) in 20 different colors. I use very diffused flash as my primary light source, with a bright bulb high up and facing slightly forward as a quasi hair-light for some warm highlights.

    I shot some of the kids' toys that way for art in their room. In this case I had two bright bulbs on the sides, I wanted to create shadows to give it some depth and shadows:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. kfoster

    kfoster TPF Noob!

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    Here's a technique I have used to get black backgrounds of flowers when shooting outdoors. Set your apeture to the smallest setting (f/32 or something) then use your flash. I use a macro flash, but I think a hotshoe or built-in flash may work. By using the small apeture you dont get in enough light to expose the background, but the flower gets exposed nicely.
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    I'm currently taking a course from a photographer who's specialty is flowers. (that's not what the course is though).

    He happened to mention that he uses good quality velvet for a black background.
     
  7. Azuth

    Azuth TPF Noob!

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    Black velvet makes a good black background for anything. I used a new velvet backdrop in the studio last week, fantastic stuff.
     
  8. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Got a big dark [at night] back yard [and an extension cord for your lights?] It's a cheap black background.
     
  9. I think I'll look for some velvet. It must do a good job of absorbing light so that I can really light things up without having to worry about background issues. Thanks for the help.
     
  10. Big Mike

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

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    I also picked up the tip that good quality velvet is much better than cheaper stuff...as light can leak though if there is light behind (with the cheap stuff). But he also said that good quality velvet can be expensive.
     
  11. 'Daniel'

    'Daniel' TPF Noob!

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    Depending on the distance from the flower and direction of the light that shouldn't be an issue. If you're reasonably close the any light that falls on the flowers shouldn't have a visible shadow unless from straight on but thats impossible as you are there/camera is there.
     

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