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Photography Question 
Erik Bjers
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/17/2005
 

Mirrors, Black Backgrounds, and Macro


I have seen many macro photos that show something like a flower or a hand with a reflection under it, everything except the subject and the reflection are black. I am trying to figure out how to make these photos.

I think I can place my subject on a mirror or a piece of black glass then place a black background behind it but I'm not sure if this is the right method or how to properly light it.

Wish I could point to an example but I can't seem to find one right now, any help is appreciated.

Erik


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7/25/2009 9:57:11 AM

 
Amanda D. Meberg
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/9/2009
  It could be a piece of plexi glass on top of black backdrop or paper. It gives the same effect.


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9/6/2009 8:49:30 PM

 
Carolyn  M. Fletcher
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/6/2001
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  Could be the flood filter..It's about $20 from www.flamingpear.com


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9/7/2009 2:28:16 AM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
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Hi Erik,
as Amanda mentioned Plexiglas will work, glass and mirrors will not work. The surface of the glass gives you a distracting secondary reflection. Some art stores carry a high gloss paper that works well, and for medium sized objects you might try printing a background on glossy paper, if your printer does gloss in black. Thanks, John Siskin


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9/7/2009 10:55:16 AM

 
Dennis Flanagan
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/31/2005
 
 
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Is this what you are referring to?


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9/8/2009 10:07:37 PM

 
Erik Bjers
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/17/2005
  Thank you everyone for your input.

Dennis, that is exactly what I am talking about.


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9/9/2009 4:50:48 AM

 
Dennis Flanagan
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/31/2005
  I sent you a message with the steps I took. Did you get it?


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9/9/2009 6:30:36 AM

 
Tami Young   Dennis, that picture is gorgeous! I would love to get in one that secret *wink wink*...


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9/9/2009 8:03:49 PM

 
Erik Bjers
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/17/2005
  Dennis,

I did not get it. If you could send it again that would be great.

Thanks,

eb


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9/9/2009 9:07:23 PM

 
Dennis Flanagan
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/31/2005
  There is no secret. I don't want to hijack someone else's discussion thread either. There are probably easier steps than mine. Here are my steps.

1. A mirror obviously. I found a medium sized wall mirror at Walmart. You want a mirror that is large enough that you can place your object in the middle and not have the mirror frame in your view finder.

2. Again, at Walmart, I bought some dark black cloth. Avoid felt or any cloth that is a magnet for lint.

3. I draped the cloth over a table and tacked (tape will do) 2 corners to the wall behind a few feet higher than the table. I placed the mirror on the cloth.

4. I illuminated the object on my mirror with a single bright light at a 45 degree angle. Do your best not to have the light hitting the cloth behind.

5. Shoot at a low enough angle that the only reflection in the mirror is the black cloth.

6. When post processing, as your first step, use the levels function. (if shooting in RAW, make sure to set your with balance for your light source). In levels, using the far left button for shadows, click on the black cloth. If you have uneven lighting on your black cloth find a middle bright area to click on. It will darken the blacks. If you still have some black that isn't quite black enough, use your clone tool. The same goes if you have some mirror frame in your shot. Clone it out.

7. Use the other sliders in levels manually to your taste.

A few more tips.... Take care to get your mirror as clean as possible. Any smudges and prints on it will just out at you if you are shooting macros.

Play with multiple light setups and see what you come with. Back lighting isn't very effective since it will dull the reflection of your object.

If you come up with a better way, or think I have let out a step, let me know. It's been about 2 years since I shot this setup. I may have missed something.


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9/9/2009 9:08:08 PM

 
Tami Young   Thanks for sharing Dennis, and thanks to Erik for posting in the question! I've learned a lot and I am excited to try it as well!


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9/10/2009 11:44:20 AM

 
Ileen Cuccaro
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/4/2009
  Great tutorial, I am going to try it as well


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10/21/2009 9:13:29 AM

 
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