How do I get that solid black background...

Started Mar 7, 2008 | Discussions
brian schindler
Junior MemberPosts: 36
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How do I get that solid black background...
Mar 7, 2008

I am far from being a professional photographer but I am involved in a hobby magazine that includes highly detailed diecast cars (expensive little boogars at that! Very high end). Most of the shots I take are good, at least from what I am told. I have shot in my head I would like to take with a black background and only want the subject to be lit...kinda like it is floating in air.

I use continuous lighting with an Oly e-500 on a tripod w/remote. I have the standard "kit" lens and a Macro lens. I also have both styles of ring flashes if that falls into a suggestion (ring flash and the twin head macro flash). I don't want to give up DOF as the detail is outstanding and more interesting in keeping the image properly lit.

I am using a black sweep background on a photo table but it comes out more like dark charcoal. So I want the background to appear a solid BLACK. Any ideas?

Excuse the newbie question, I have learned a lot about lighting techniques from all of the posts out here and I thank you all.

Thanks,

Brian

phila_guy
Senior MemberPosts: 2,360
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Re: How do I get that solid black background...
In reply to brian schindler, Mar 7, 2008

brian schindler wrote:

I am far from being a professional photographer but I am involved in
a hobby magazine that includes highly detailed diecast cars
(expensive little boogars at that! Very high end). Most of the
shots I take are good, at least from what I am told. I have shot in
my head I would like to take with a black background and only want
the subject to be lit...kinda like it is floating in air.

I use continuous lighting with an Oly e-500 on a tripod w/remote. I
have the standard "kit" lens and a Macro lens. I also have both
styles of ring flashes if that falls into a suggestion (ring flash
and the twin head macro flash). I don't want to give up DOF as the
detail is outstanding and more interesting in keeping the image
properly lit.

I am using a black sweep background on a photo table but it comes out
more like dark charcoal. So I want the background to appear a solid
BLACK. Any ideas?

1. black velour as background/sweep
2. move your model farther in front of the background

3. block the light from spilling into your background (barndoor, gobo, flag, snoot, grid, snoot+grid)
4. use a flash, continous lighting equals longer exposure time

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We have art that we do not die of the truth.
--Friedrich Nietzsche

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WFulton
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Re: How do I get that solid black background...
In reply to brian schindler, Mar 7, 2008

brian schindler wrote:

I am using a black sweep background on a photo table but it comes out
more like dark charcoal. So I want the background to appear a solid
BLACK. Any ideas?

Excuse the newbie question, I have learned a lot about lighting
techniques from all of the posts out here and I thank you all.

For small objects, black velvet from the fabric store is perfect, and as good as it gets.

Needs zero distance separation to be BLACK. The less expensive velveteen is OK, but one yard of the real stuff is awesome. Maybe $18.

Here is a sample, purse is laying directly on the velvet - no separation at all.

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balloonchasers
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Re: How do I get that solid black background...
In reply to WFulton, Mar 7, 2008

Great ideas listed above, but I will mention one that may get a few negative comments.

You may want to try some postprocessing of your images as well. Trying to go from a dark grey to black is easier than trying to go to a white background. I know... get it right in the camera!

John
--

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c If you find any extra letters, please place them here for future use...

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spiked3
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Re: How do I get that solid black background...
In reply to phila_guy, Mar 7, 2008

Do what the parent said - moving away was the ticket for me.
Pick up a piece of black foam at staples/office depot for the table.

I learned it the hard way when I was using chroma green and getting all kinds of green tints on my models.

more at http://www.pbase.com/spiked3/black

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Darrell Spreen
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How about this?
In reply to brian schindler, Mar 7, 2008

This was done with a black velvet background and a black surface. With velvet you can be fairly careless in how the light spills onto the background.

But don't forget all white. I like it a little better when you want the car to appear grounded.

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Darrell

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brian schindler
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Re: How about this?
In reply to Darrell Spreen, Mar 7, 2008

Nice...CMC models?

The top one was what I was looking for...perfect for what I have in mind. Was that one taken with a Flash as someone suggested?

The lower one is what I normally shoot but the models are 1/24th. I also agree to the "grounding" but this one is to be a bit different more like the one above it.

Off to the fabric store for me this weekend!

Thanks guys! I knew a newbie could get a straight shootin' answer here!

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Barrie Davis
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Re: How do I get that solid black background...
In reply to phila_guy, Mar 7, 2008

phila_guy wrote:

brian schindler wrote:

I am using a black sweep background on a photo table but it comes out
more like dark charcoal. So I want the background to appear a solid
BLACK. Any ideas?

1. black velour as background/sweep

Yes...

2. move your model farther in front of the background

Yes...

3. block the light from spilling into your background (barndoor,
gobo, flag, snoot, grid, snoot+grid)

Yes...

4. use a flash, continous lighting equals longer exposure time

Errr... No! Exposure duration wouldn't make any difference one way or the other.
--
Regards,
Baz

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brian schindler
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Re: How do I get that solid black background...
In reply to balloonchasers, Mar 7, 2008

I try to do as little postprocessing as possible excpt to remove that errant speck of dust and maybe tweak the lighting just a tad.

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phila_guy
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Re: How do I get that solid black background...
In reply to Barrie Davis, Mar 7, 2008

Barrie Davis wrote:

4. use a flash, continous lighting equals longer exposure time

Errr... No! Exposure duration wouldn't make any difference one way or
the other.

you won't get 1/250s f/16 using continuous light. small aperture, high shutter speed will give you a black background even in daylight.

You can use f/16 with continuous light, you just have to keep the shutter open much longer getting more ambient light

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We have art that we do not die of the truth.
--Friedrich Nietzsche

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Darrell Spreen
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Re: How about this?
In reply to brian schindler, Mar 7, 2008

brian schindler wrote:

Nice...CMC models?

I believe they are both CMC models.

The top one was what I was looking for...perfect for what I have in
mind. Was that one taken with a Flash as someone suggested?

Yes, I use off-camera flash. I use one flash connected to the camera with a pc-sync cord and another flash optically slaved. Both are into or through umbrellas.

Good luck. Let us see your results.

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Darrell

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Jetjockgordo
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Re: How about this?
In reply to brian schindler, Mar 7, 2008

Don't forget to get a large lint roller! The best is the one that has peel off disposable layers instead of the gel type that can be washed.

Regards,
Gordo

brian schindler wrote:

Nice...CMC models?

The top one was what I was looking for...perfect for what I have in
mind. Was that one taken with a Flash as someone suggested?

The lower one is what I normally shoot but the models are 1/24th. I
also agree to the "grounding" but this one is to be a bit different
more like the one above it.

Off to the fabric store for me this weekend!

Thanks guys! I knew a newbie could get a straight shootin' answer here!

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Barrie Davis
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Re: How do I get that solid black background...
In reply to phila_guy, Mar 7, 2008

phila_guy wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

4. use a flash, continous lighting equals longer exposure time

Errr... No! Exposure duration wouldn't make any difference one way or
the other.

you won't get 1/250s f/16 using continuous light. small aperture,
high shutter speed will give you a black background even in daylight.

You can use f/16 with continuous light, you just have to keep the
shutter open much longer getting more ambient light...

So, how is keeping the shutter open longer than the duration of a flash supposed to have a selective effect, lightening the background more than the subject?

For some reason you seem to think that it is does, but I cannot understand why you believe that. [?]

Please explain.
--
Regards,
Baz

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phila_guy
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Re: How do I get that solid black background...
In reply to Barrie Davis, Mar 8, 2008

Barrie Davis wrote:

phila_guy wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

4. use a flash, continous lighting equals longer exposure time

Errr... No! Exposure duration wouldn't make any difference one way or
the other.

you won't get 1/250s f/16 using continuous light. small aperture,
high shutter speed will give you a black background even in daylight.

You can use f/16 with continuous light, you just have to keep the
shutter open much longer getting more ambient light...

So, how is keeping the shutter open longer than the duration of a
flash supposed to have a selective effect, lightening the background
more than the subject?

For some reason you seem to think that it is does, but I cannot
understand why you believe that. [?]

Please explain.

sure, these 2 concepts should explain that and should be easy enough to try out for yourself.

1. dragging the shutter
2. slow sync rear curtain flash

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We have art that we do not die of the truth.
--Friedrich Nietzsche

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JimT49
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Re: How do I get that solid black background...
In reply to phila_guy, Mar 8, 2008

If you live in an area without a lot of light pollution, you can get a totally black backgrounds by shooting outside at night. Jim

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Barrie Davis
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Re: How do I get that solid black background...
In reply to phila_guy, Mar 8, 2008

phila_guy wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

So, how is keeping the shutter open longer than the duration of a
flash supposed to have a selective effect, lightening the background
more than the subject?

For some reason you seem to think that it is does, but I cannot
understand why you believe that. [?]

Please explain.

sure, these 2 concepts should explain that and should be easy enough
to try out for yourself.

1. dragging the shutter
2. slow sync rear curtain flash

Sorry... we are obviously flying on different beams, here.... (shrugs)

For some reason that I do not understand, you seem to be associating any AMBIENT light that might be around at shooting time....

-- hide signature --

(presumably, because somebody forgot to turn it off or pull the blinds)--

.... with an incredible ability in that light to illuminate the background more than the subject.

Just how this is supposed to happen I do not know. What's more, it has become increasingly clear that you don't have any more idea than I have !!

I think it is time to drop it, make my final point, and wish you farewell!!

Therefore, please note that.....

There is no particular difference in the visible effects of flash or continuous styles of lighting on still subjects. As always, it depends on how the lights are placed and their relative sizes and brightnesses etc....

However, they are rather different to shoot with. For small (stationary) objects needing finely controlled lighting (like samples seen in this thread), many people choose continuous for its more immediate visual feedback (WYSIWYG) especially since there is now increasing choice in fluorescent lightsources that combine cool working with top quality colour.
--
Regards,
Baz

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PlayPixel
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Re: How about this?
In reply to Darrell Spreen, Mar 8, 2008

Darrell Spreen wrote:

brian schindler wrote:

Nice...CMC models?

I believe they are both CMC models.

It's look like real car to me (for the white car) look at the detail of the dash board. It's look real. Or maybe the premium car model.

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Kpatel
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Re: How do I get that solid black background...
In reply to brian schindler, Mar 9, 2008

Brian,

You need Digi tent like this

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/501358-REG/Westcott_305_DigiTent_20_.html

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KP

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virtuamike
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Inverse square law
In reply to brian schindler, Mar 10, 2008

To darken background in relation to subject, either move your light closer to your subject or move your background farther from your light (or both).

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Ramen is how I afford my glass
http://www.blindmike.com

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Davidismyfriend
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Re: How do I get that solid black background...
In reply to Barrie Davis, Mar 10, 2008

Yes there is, sorry!!!!

the difference is that with flash the light on the model is provided by the flash and the background light by the ambiant light.

The explanation is that your flash will deliver a much stronger light on the first plan for a very short time that you'll be able to capture with a short exposure time, but this same flash wont reach the background therefore it will be black if you use black velour.

What happens is that with a flash you'll be able to control the light on the subject with the aperture and the light on the background with the time (the time is not affecting the flash unless your go past the maximum sinc speed of your camera).
With continuous light you dont have that separation capability.

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