Back on Black – 1

I love taking pictures with a black or underexposed background. Most of my pictures are taken in daylight. There are two tricks I use to get to a suitably dark or sometimes totally black background. As I’ve been asked many time how I do this, here’s is the first way.

Using an external flash with the camera set to a very high shutter speed (> 1/2500) and a high aperture (~f/14). This ensures that the foreground is well exposed and there isn’t enough time for the sensor to record the background which then appears dark. Slight adjustments in Lightroom to increase black and the photograph really stands out.

Original image 1/3200 f/14 with external SB600 flash
Adjustments in Lightroom. Increased blacks, desaturated greens, increased highlights.

It is really that easy!! Of course, it always helps if the background isn’t too crowded or very bright. Also using a high aperture means that most of the image is in focus. In a future post, I will try to cover other ways by which I get a black background (especially in those cases where this method is not possible).

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Scientist, hobby photographer and amateur gardener

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