Black Thursday

Black Backgrounds. Love them. Thought I had them sussed. 


This is one of my earliest studio experiments. Way back more than three years ago, I undertook that scary task of doing some studio portraits for college for the first time. I didn’t know much apart from what we had gone through in class. I roped in my (unwilling but helpless) victim and sat him on a box in a big white room. Then I played with lights. Although the room allowed daylight in through three windows on two sides, the background was completely blackened thanks to a single harsh flash from the sitter’s left.

I was actually really happy with the outcome of the shoot, and even three years in, I still like this shot: I like the harsh light illuminating only half of the face; I like the dark background. I like that there is a colour difference between the background and the black jumper of my subject – the fact that there is actually a little bit of (three-dimensional) depth in this. And no Photoshop.

Three years on, things have changed. I have just looked through a shoot I did more than two months ago – and which I still hadn’t properly looked at. And right I was – my initial experimentation with a nude placed on a black background has totally gone tits up, if you pardon the pun. Just hasn’t worked at all. Perspectives are weird, three-dimensionality lost, light not illuminating the important bits, a lot of grain in the images. How the hell could that happen. How can you get some decent shots out of your first ever session – and utterly fail three years down the road? Beginner’s luck? Can’t be the fault of the camera, because “my 5d makes great pictures”whereas above picture was shot on a 350d. Actually, I know why – because I haven’t used a lightmeter for lack of same. Graaaaah.

*Sighs* Good thing, the black background pose was only the start of that recent shoot. The rest of the images actually came out looking good and there are some that I am quite happy with. Only concentrate on the good ones, I guess.

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