Photographing Black Objects on a Black Background
When a client asked me to shoot their earrings on a black background it looked pretty simple at first. They all looked pretty bright colored and begging for a nice dark background. Then I came across one that made me cringe at first. It had solid black pieces blowing me a raspberry and screaming “na-na na-na boo-boo”. When I first started shooting fulltime back in 2009 I would have never been able to pull this off, the black ornaments would have gotten lost in the abyss of the background like a star swallowed by a black hole.
Fortunately, 5 years later I felt confident I could do this, like the little engine that could. I accepted the challenge and took the 26 earrings to my bat cave (sorry, I got carried away), to my studio and setup the basketball earrings with the black pieces first. I was expecting it to take a little while but I summoned up all my years of experience and to my surprise it only took about 5 minutes to get the shot right. A few minutes editing in Photoshop to make minor edits like removing the fishing line I used to hang them and the whole shot took under 10 minutes. Yay Me!!!
This article is not meant to be a how to but for those interested in how the lighting was setup I initially set this up with 2 soft boxes but I didn’t like the way it looked so I turned off one light and slid the light on the left (from camera view) slightly behind the earrings facing toward camera just enough not to spill on the background and used a flag (just a black piece of paper I had sitting nearby) because I was getting a little flair in camera. For the lighting on the other side, since I didn’t want lights on the other side I used a mirror to kick some light back into the earring. It looked good but I wanted a little more separation higher up on the earrings so I grabbed a long narrow box out of the recyclables and wrapped some silver aluminum foil around it and put it slightly behind the earrings on the opposite side of the soft box to create a rim light. This created the separation from the background that I was looking for.
Thanks for visiting my blog, until the next time…
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