i would i do this?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by skatephoto, Nov 15, 2004.

  1. skatephoto

    skatephoto TPF Noob!

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    I am shooting portrait photography for one of my college classes and i was gonna try for a couple of shots to make a little home made studio type thing. the picture that i kinda want to get is one of my friend with a complete black background with only the side of his face lit up. does anyone have any suggestions on how to do this; how to expose him so the not dark part of him is exposed correctly while the rest is black. i guess i will need a black sheet or something for the background? i dont know any one have some suggestions? thanks
     
  2. LizM

    LizM TPF Noob!

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    Black paper for the background. Put him near a window that has a lot of light coming in. Meter from the lit side of the face. That should do it - maybe.
     
  3. DocFrankenstein

    DocFrankenstein Clinically Insane?

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    I may really be talking out of my A$$ here, since I'm only getting into it.

    BUT:

    Window won't do IMO, cause the background will still show. Window is too large of a light source. You'll need a flash, a PC cord, a light stand... :D

    Set your camera to max sync speed and dim the lights. This will make sure all minimum light is minimized.

    Place the flash to the left of your subject. Place your subject away from the background. Make sure to put a curtain to minimize the light on the background.

    Stuff like that.
     
  4. ferny

    ferny TPF Noob!

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    What you want to do is classed as low key photography (dark or black background). Just in case you want to investigate further. Having never tried what you want to do, I agree with using the flash. You'll want a pitch black room to stop any light from reaching the dark side of the face. You'll want a black background to. I'd suggest, if you can get it, velvet. You may be able to borrow some from an art or design department. Black paper will do, but with velvet you won't have to worry about creases as much and I'd expect it to reflect less light. The only thing I can say about the flash is to make sure it is only aimed at the part you want highlighted.

    And if you're shooting film, take lots of shots and bracket your exposures.
     
  5. Shutterbug

    Shutterbug TPF Noob!

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    This is easy.

    Yes, velvet works, but on a budget it can be expensive, and I find that standard black cloth from Wal*Mart works fine.

    How you do this:

    Buy about 3 yards of black cloth. It will cost you around 9 dollars. Hang it in a way so it's about 3 feet higher than your tallest buddy (If it's a standing portrait, hang it just as high as your tallest friend if it's sitting), and make sure that any noticable folds are nearer to the bottom.

    Then, position your buddy 3 to 5 feet in front of the backdrop, either sitting or standing. This is so when you light him/her, none of the light will spill onto the background, making it look brownish.

    Then, take whatever kind of lighting you are using (Hopefully some kind of strobe or tripod based modeling light) and point it directly at the side of the face you want lit. If you're using a lamp or something, try and make some sort of blocker to keep light off the background but still on your buddy. Make sure there is a decent amount of light.

    Then, on the other side of him, use some sort of black fill card (Foam board from wal*mart also works very well when you are on a budget) and have someone hold it as close to your friends face as he can without getting the card in the shot. That will keep light from bouncing back and lighting the other side of his face.

    Then, shoot the portrait, but underexpose by one stop. That will allow the black to stay black, but the lit part of the face to retain it's features. If the end shot is too dark on the lit side, use the same camera settings but with more light.

    Hope that helps.
     
  6. j_mcquillen

    j_mcquillen TPF Noob!

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    A Flash unit will always give you more control over the lighting, but I've seen some pretty amazing results using window-light... position your background as far from the subject as possible, and open up your aperture wide to blur it and you should be fine.

    You can also close your curtains to try and control the amount and direction of the light from the window.
     
  7. motcon

    motcon TPF Noob!

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    everything shutterbug stated looks good except the exposure part. you have to meter the model, then meter the background. the background has to read 4 stops less light in order for it to be rendered completely black. actually, the formula breaks it down to if the film sees 4 1/3 stop less light (reflective meter) coming from the background than is set on the camera, it's going to record as black. if you print your own, you could probably get away with 3 stops less unless it is a wrinkled/textured background.

    i'd stick with 4 stops.
     
  8. crystalview

    crystalview TPF Noob!

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    Good tips! Bookmark.
     
  9. Zoolfoos

    Zoolfoos TPF Noob!

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    I agree with the flash technique. See if you can get a basment or a room with no windows. If not, if you can put, for example, a big peice of plywood or something like that over the window(s). That would work well and would be fairly cheap, see if you can find some excess wood at a nearby factory, store, etc. for free.

    Don't forget to post the photo afterward! We'd all like to see how it turns out.
     
  10. Shutterbug

    Shutterbug TPF Noob!

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    Always worked for me the way I do it... Oh well =(
     

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