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How to Take Photos with Black Background

Black background photos, the overall picture is simple and clean, and can highlight the subject, such as shooting portraits with black background. Many people use certain shooting techniques to turn the background of the screen into a dark background or even a black background. So, how to take a photo with a black background? Here are some tips.

As Kevin Landwer-Johan said in his Blog, “Light is of the essence in photography. The amount of light and its quality govern the way that your photographs look. Strong, hard light creates high contrast. Soft, subdued light creates low contrast photographs. In high contrast lighting, our cameras will record less detail than we see. Knowing this and looking for situations where the lighting and the location is right will make for great portraits with a black background. With the right light and camera settings, this style of portrait can be achieved with little or no post processing.”

If shooting outdoors, you can take advantage of natural light to create black background. When spot metering is used to meter the bright part of the screen, the camera's metering system will think that the brightness of the photo is too bright, so the light will be dimmed to reach the reference value, making the brightness of the captured photo darker than the actual brightness. In order to make the shooting background darker and darker, we also need to adjust the shooting angle, giving priority to the darker screen background, so that we can use the spot metering to suppress these dark backgrounds and have a better chance of forming a completely black background. If you feel that the bright part of the photo background is not dark enough or black enough, you can also reduce the exposure compensation or reduce the brightness of the shadows to make the background darker.

If you are shooting indoors and the natural light conditions are not very good, you can place a black backdrop behind the subject. If necessary, reduce the exposure compensation to complete the black background shooting. Using backdrop and other props to achieve black background shooting is relatively simple, very suitable for indoor photography. After creating the black background, you need to do some camera settings.

First, set ISO to the minimum workload (100 or 200 for most cameras). Next, set the "Shutter Speed" to the fastest setting for off-camera flashes (1/200 second may work for most cameras/flashes). Finally, you need to determine which aperture (FStop) can work under your ambient lighting conditions. You may need to try this setting a bit to determine which will work, but I recommend starting with f/8.0 and starting there. In order to determine the best aperture setting, you need to take a picture of the subject without the flash (or turn off the camera light source). The goal is to obtain a completely black result. If the object is recognizable at the f/8.0 setting, hit it up until you get a completely black photo. This is how the background appears in the final photo. After setting the aperture, you can take photos.

After the photo is taken, it can be improved by post-processing to achieve the effect you want. There are several things you can do in post-processing, such as using Photoshop, Lightroom or any other photo processing program. If you have any areas of background that show up, a targeted levels or curves adjustment will fix these. Select the affected area and adjust the darkness settings until it matches the rest of the darkened background. You can also use the levels/curves settings to brighten the subject if necessary.

Portraits with black backgrounds are powerful because they do not distract from your subject. Making black background portraits is a great way to highlight your subject. The most important aspect is the light ratio. When you have enough contrast between the light on your subject and the background, you can create a great black background photo.

Check out more Dbackdrop Blogs about photography tips.
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 Kevin Landwer-Johan

a professional photographer, photography teacher, author and film maker with over 30 years of experience. His background is in newspaper and commercial photography. He is flexible to shoot in different styles and genres and am most passionate about portraits and documentary style.

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