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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> Alternative Black background technique
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10/14/2013 08:16:16 AM · #1
Hi all

I\'m wanting to create an image with a black background and limited lit subject matter in the foreground. I\'ve never taken an image before and my google research all throws up the same technique as is described here.

I don\'t own a remote flash, so was wonderinf if anyone could suggest an alternative technique which would yeild a similar result?

At present... I\'m thinking of having a dark cloth as the background with a simple desktop light with semi-translucent material covering to limit the amount of light.

Thanks

Al
10/14/2013 10:34:31 AM · #2
No matter what you have to realize that you need to honor that approach. Your subject needs more light than your background. Period.
Unless you want to mask them out and do it in PP.

If you use a desktop light, you do not want anything limiting the amount of light because it won't throw much light in the first place. If by limit you actually mean "aim" then that's fine, but you will need and want every ounce that bulb will throw, and you'll still be cranking iso and keeping your aperture open.

ETA: What I mean is that if you use a material to control the spill (think the difference between a flashlight and a standard lightbulb that isn't directed), then that's fine, but you won't want a diffusion material between your bulb and your subject because you'll be losing light.

Message edited by author 2013-10-14 10:36:57.
10/14/2013 12:11:47 PM · #3
tin foil is much better at directing the light beam, plus the reflective properties will improve output
10/14/2013 01:01:56 PM · #4
You could try This
10/14/2013 03:32:32 PM · #5
The problem with desk lamps is they do well what they are designed for; comfortably illuminating a desk area 12-24 inches from the bulb. They may work for product photography, but not for portraits. Too little candle power, too little area lit.
On the other hand work lights are designed to light up work spaces, and are very cheap, so you can buy a lot of light for not much money. You can use aluminum foil as a snood to control spill light.
10/14/2013 06:25:24 PM · #6
Dark cloth works fine. Couple of things to keep in mind -- the farther away you get your background, the easier it is to get it dark, because the light falls off fast (inverse square and all that).

If you have a grey cat, clean the cat hair off the dark background, or it will show. :)

Velvet is pricey, but makes for a wonderfully dark background.
10/14/2013 06:33:58 PM · #7
Originally posted by Kobba:

You could try This


That is brilliant !!!!!!! Bookmarked for further study, thanks for sharing.
10/14/2013 07:16:30 PM · #8
Originally posted by Beetle:

Originally posted by Kobba:

You could try This


That is brilliant !!!!!!! Bookmarked for further study, thanks for sharing.


+1 (I haven't bought Pringles in a while, but here's a good excuse.)
10/15/2013 05:13:09 AM · #9
Originally posted by Kobba:

You could try This


Awesome idea.

Thanks all.
10/15/2013 08:56:36 PM · #10
Originally posted by Kobba:

You could try This

KOBBA....DUDE....That was really clever. I've got to try making the spot light version of the pringle can. Thanks for sharing this DIY technique!
10/15/2013 09:18:46 PM · #11
The quality of light on the Antiperspirant and Camera is gorgeous. Such wonderful, even soft light. Very nice!

Ps...what kind of black paint did you use to coat the bottom of the glass?
10/15/2013 09:42:57 PM · #12
Okay... I may have the answer for you... Here's what you need... 1. A big Mag light, or similar flashlight. One of a decent size. 2. A black bed sheet. 3. A tripod

First, put a good bit of separation between your subject and the background. Put your camera on a tripod and use the black bed sheet as your background. Next, take a paper towel and fold it a few time over, then cover the flashlight with the paper towel (a nice diffuser and you can add and subtract paper towels to get it right). Prefocus the camera on your subject and turn all the lights out in the room, so that it's completely black. Fire the shutter and use the flashlight to illuminate your subject. Play with exposure times and angles of the light. I think that will do the trick for you. All of these shots were done with that technique

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The tea shot and the hustler were minimal editing challenges too so there's more that could have been done to make them pop... Hope this helps
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