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Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Ben F
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/30/2004

portrait lighting

hey all,

just wondering how to achieve the fully black background doing portrait work - ???
like this

or would I be right in guessing that the subject is extracted using photoshop and layered on a black background?

Im also curious about how to achieve the glowing vibrant look of subjects.
such as this..

is this all photoshop work as well or is it some type of diffused flash etc etc,.

Thanks for any help. :)))

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7/22/2006 3:51:46 AM

Mike Rubin
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/15/2004
  The black backdrop may be just that, A black cloth backdrop, Or changed in PS. The image you reference was converted to B&W.It could also have to do with lighting and DOF. I think a vibrant look starts with the quality of the lens along with PP.

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7/22/2006 4:38:53 AM

Rebecca A. Steed
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/6/2005
  Hi Ben, I'm afraid that the truth behind the mystery is pretty boring. For me to achieve a black background, I use black sheets or a black fleece blanket and have my subject about two or three feet in front of it. Then, in photoshop, if the black isn't quite 'black' you go to levels and select the eye drop tool with black on it, then touch it to the black part of the picture that may look a little gray. This will make all the black REALLY black.
As far as vibrant lighting, lens may play a part with clarity, but it mostly depends on your light source and what your white balance is on. If you are shooting in automatic, you cannot really achieve what you want. If you put your WB on cloudy, even if subject is shot outdoors on a sunny EVENING (mid day light is way too harsh unless it's in shade or cloudy)this will make the lighting so much warmer. Hope this helps.

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7/22/2006 5:11:10 AM

Ben F
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/30/2004
hi becky, thanks so much for ur reply :)

I use canon 30d and have done some okay outdoor portraits with a 100mm macro lense. I think its a great portrait lense coz its so sharp!!!
The only problem with it is its working distance. I prefer shooting outdoors anywayz..

I made the mistake of shooting the portraits in b&w, instead of colour and then converting in PS. ima try attach it, see what u think??

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7/22/2006 5:23:07 AM

Ben F
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/30/2004
maybe this time...

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7/22/2006 5:34:34 AM

Ben F
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/30/2004
  lol, ive given up!!!

its in my gallery tho if u wanna take a peek


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7/22/2006 5:47:25 AM

Diane Dupuis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2003
  Yup - black anything - backdrop, sheet, blanket - subject far enough away - no light on it - and if it needs a tiny bit of touching up that little black eyedropper in levels is magic!
You definitely shouldn't shoot b&w - it's always easier to convert to b&w in PS than to try to get color back (not even sure you can).

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7/22/2006 12:32:53 PM

Stacy L. Robertson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2006
  Ben..I shoot alot of my portraits with a black get it to look black as coal I move my model 4 to 5 feet away from it. Then I light up what I want. I hardly ever have to blacken it more on my computer. Maybe this helps?

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7/24/2006 8:28:45 AM

Jane M
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/30/2005
  Also note that you don't always even need a backdrop if there is enough difference in light between the face and the background, cameras can't handle the same range in light our eyes can! Putting the subject next to a window in an otherwise darkish room will often give you a black background.

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7/24/2006 8:37:44 AM

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