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  1. #1

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    Tips for still life/product photography with completely black background

    I'd like to take a picture of some objects (specific object doesn't really matter), and I need the background to be completely black.

    I experimented a little last night with OK results. I put down a black cloth on a chair, set my objects up and lit them. With my limited lighting setup (just shop/work lamps), I was getting way too much spill onto the surface, even though I put down a black cloth. I was able to get the background black by putting enough space between my setup and the wall and turning out the lights in the room.

    Going forward, what would be a better way to approach this? Maybe I should use a bracket of some sorts to hold my object/s up and shoot into empty space?

    FWIW, I'm shooting with an RB67 and the 90mm lens. In my camera last night was Kodak TMY.

  2. #2

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    I use a background paper that is flocked. It is dead black and workers great, no high lights visible. You may also need a bit more control of your lights such as gobos to block some of the light on the background.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    dpurdy's Avatar
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    You can buy black velvet or fake black velvet pretty cheaply at a fabric store. It can take a lot of light and stay black. You also should try to set up your background to leave as much space as possible between subject and background. Also be sure to keep all the light blocked from your camera lens so you have zero flare.
    Dennis

  4. #4

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    Thanks guys. I think I do need a "blacker" fabric like velvet. Somethig with a lot of surface area that will absorb more light. I was just using a regular black woven that was probably reflecting too much light.

    Since I'm using a RB67, I do have the ability to sync with a flash at any speed. I dont really have flash that I can control that well though, which is why I'm using continuous lights. I'll try to see if I can get more control of the light as well.

  5. #5

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    I have quite good experience with what you call “shooting into empty space”. So the background has to be very fare away and should not get any light. The room has to be dark and perhaps you have to construct some kind of tube around your lamp to avoid scattering light into the room.

    A flash is of cause a very convenient way to darken the room. A short shutter time will remove all other light sources in the room (Your leaf shutter has no limit for the synchronizing time)

  6. #6
    adelorenzo's Avatar
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    Here are a few suggestions that I would try, some have already been mentioned:

    Black velvet or something that really absorbs light

    Use grids, snoots or flags on your lights (easy to DIY something) to control light spill

    Shoot at high shutter speeds with a strobe to kill ambient or shoot in the dark with your continuous lights
    Last edited by adelorenzo; 11-06-2013 at 11:06 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #7
    cliveh's Avatar
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    This is where doing the shots in your darkroom helps, but black velvet is a must.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  8. #8
    Fixcinater's Avatar
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    Late to the party but: you can use a *white* backdrop and make it turn black if you light it correctly, especially if you have strobes. Work on controlling spill vs. finding a blacker cloth.

  9. #9
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Depending on what your background material is made of, a polarizing filter might help.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  10. #10
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
    Aaron Chang

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