This project was quite intimidating for me. I didn’t have a lot of studio lighting background before attempting, and I wasn’t quite sure how it would turn out. Still, I knew if I could get it right, the studio black background would make for some incredible photos.
Studio Lighting Photography
For all of these images, I shot on my Nikon D3200, an entry-level camera. My settings for these first three photos were ISO 100, F.22 with a shutter speed of 1/200. As you can see in my setup shot, I also wasn’t super close to her, it’s the position of the light that mattered most.
For this next photo, I took out a reflected and used the black side to place a sliced orange on. I spritz the front with a spray bottle to add more texture. Normally when you’re inside, you should adjust your settings and have a lower f-stop, but I ended up moving the light closer to my subject and that did the trick.
Something else to keep in mind is how close your subject is from the background. We had this sitting on a table, so we needed to pull it way forward in order to get the desired effect we wanted — aka: an image with a completely black background.
Studio Quality Black Background Setup
The setup for all the shots was basically the same. A camera placed right in front of our subjects and a light in whatever direction we wanted it coming from. Having someone hold the light, with the snoot firmly wrapped around in the shape of a cone is key to good lighting — beyond your settings of course.
Studio Quality Black Background at Home
Because I didn’t have a third person to hold the light for me, taking pictures at home was a lot more challenging. It took me a while before I came up with pictures that satisfied what I was looking for. I ended up loving each of these because of the unique lighting and of course the humor. These last three even remind me of book or movie covers.
This last photo actually has a cute story. I was frustrated at this point, feeling like I wasn’t getting the quality images I wanted, so to cheer me up, Nate made this face to which I couldn’t stop laughing. If you can’t laugh at something hard, you’re doing it wrong.
All in all, it was great to better understand lighting in this way. Whenever I need a clean crisp background, I feel a lot more confident in being able to accomplish that on my own.