Creating the professional looking black background without a backdrop.
It is no secret that black backgrounds look sleek and professional. It can be hard for something to not look amazing when it is paired with a crisp, clean blanket of black. But what if you don’t have a professional black backdrop? Have no fear! faking a black background is easier than you think!
When? Where? and Why?
The benefits and uses of a studio quality invisible black background (SQIBB) are endless!! Whether it is for portraits or products or anything else, it is a great way to look professional and also just get the cool “vibe”.
To me, one of the greatest benefits of SQIBB is that it can be done anywhere. If you make sure to always throw your flash and snoot into your camera bag then you’ll be able to fake a black background anywhere.
When creating your SQIBB, you are going to need a few things besides your camera. The first is an external flash with a trigger. The second is something to create a snoot. A snoot is basically a funnel for your external flash. I recommend using a Rogue Flashbender. It is essentially a softbox for your external flash and works really well as a snoot! I’ve liked one below if you have never heard of one.
Rogue Flash Bender: https://amzn.to/3DWy0Vj
External Flash: https://amzn.to/3jeWiSr
A large part of making this work is going to be your settings. You need to let in enough light to light your subject but keep your background dark. I would recommend an ISO 100; shutter speed 1/250 (you’re limited with your external flash); And between f/8-f/22. It will be dependant on whether you are inside or outside. In general, if you need to change your exposure, only change your f-stop.
When in doubt… use a black sheet.
Sometimes, even when you used a flash bender to make a snoot and funnel the light of the flash it isn’t 100% enough to have that background. When in doubt, throw a black sheet behind it. Like this one linked below!
Black Sheet: https://amzn.to/2XwYgGq
You may be wondering why you didn’t just do that in the first place. The truth is that without that funnel of light, you are light the entire area. This means that you can see the grain and fibers in the fabric of the sheet. This doesn’t provide a crisp and clean black background. Even though a black sheet is a black background, you are still faking a black background that professionals with a studio would use.
Get out there and SQIBB!
Now you know how to fake a black background! This can be used practically anytime and anywhere! If you want to learn more about faking a black backdrop, check out this article from Photo Correct!
Want to learn more about photography? Check out this article on phone photography!