Black background Photography tutorial - Skin Investigation

Black background Photography tutorial

Photography Tips for Using Flash on a Black Background


flash black backgroundShooting portraits against a black background makes a dramatic statement. It forces the viewer to give the subject their undivided attention, and it can give off a wide range of emotions. However, it also presents lighting challenges for photographers. In this video, photographer Joe McNally demonstrates a simple approach to these challenges:

To illustrate the difficulty in photographing on a black background, McNally first shoots an image with the on-camera flash. The result is harsh, heavy on contrast, and unflattering:

flash black background

For yet another look, try a large diffuser panel (McNally uses one that measures 3 feet by 6 feet). Those who don’t want to buy or rent one can create a makeshift panel from a bedsheet. Diffusing the light over such a large area will create a soft, allover glow on your subject:

Depending on the mood you’re trying to capture, any of these lighting setups could be the right one for you. But as always, it pays to familiarize yourself with a variety of approaches.

“Be observant of light—observant of natural light; be aware of what your flashes can and cannot do for you; and the mix of those two potential approaches (available, flash, or flash mixed with available) make you a very versatile photographer.” – Joe McNally



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