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Photography Question 

Black On Black

Hey everyone! I'm about to shoot a roll for a "black on black" assignment in my photography class. Unfotunately -I missed my last class because I've been knocked out w/the flu & my prof is impossible to get ahold of. I was wondering if anyone had some suggestions on how to set my camera aperature/speed for this type of setting? We just finished "white on white" - and I was told to over expose by two stops for that. ** If anyone has any tips for me I will be so grateful. Please help! Thanks again. Kelly R.

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3/22/2003 11:56:27 AM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/27/2001
This is an educated guess . . . use at your own risk!

If "white on white" is a "high key" situation with light subject and light background, then "black on black" is the opposite, "low key" situation, with dark subject on dark background.

I'm wondering a little what "over expose by two stops" for the "white on white" means. This would make sense if metering was set to give proper exposure for mid-tones (or things that average to mid-tone).

I would be tempted to do the opposite for "black on black" . . . a dark object on a low key (dark) background. However, use some caution and work carefully doing this when using negative films. "Black on black" with color or B&W negative film, if it's exposed to render that level of tone on the negative will result in a rather "thin" negative . . . not much density to it . . . in the shadows. Deepest shadow could be lost if it's underexposed too much making shooting this situation more difficult than the opposite.

I suspect these exercises are tied to the Zone System in some manner?? Is it tied to exposure "bracketing" techniques?? If so, meter exposure to keep at least some detail in deepest shadow at that end of the zone. Underexposing by two stops with negative films should keep you out of trouble if the majority of the scene is "black on black."

Found the following which looks a lot like what you're asking about:

-- John

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3/29/2003 7:29:09 PM

Kelly    John - Thank you for your advice. It turns out that it was right on! My previous assignments have used bracketing (as you had mentioned in your response) When I finally got in touch with my professor he advised me exactly the way you did. But thanks to YOU, I got my assignment done on time and successfully. :) Kelly R.

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4/4/2003 4:44:48 PM

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