The Invisible Black Backdrop – Photography Technique

Over the past few weeks in preparation for the launch of my new ‘InSight Photography Workshop’ I’ve been running ‘testers’ (mini workshops) with groups of photographers to teach a range of lighting techniques and also to get brutal honest feedback.

One of the techniques I’ve been teaching has become affectionately knows as ‘The Invisible Black Backdrop’ and without doubt has proven to be one of the most popular techniques amongst attendees. So, this got me thinking…why not write a tutorial, post it on the blog and then encourage those who give it a go to submit their photographs?…I mean, what better way to judge your teaching than by seeing the results achieved by others?

So…what is the ‘Invisible Black Backdrop’?
Well as the saying goes ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ so here’s what I mean:

There’s no question that having this technique in your ‘Photography Toolbag’ can save you alot of time, effort and not to mention…money, but it also allows you to add a little extra creativity to your ‘shoot’ and get photos that you would have normally thought only possible in a studio or with a collapsible backdrop.

So, how do we achieve the ‘Black Backdrop’?
Basically what we’re looking to do is to tell the camera to capture no light other than what we introduce in the form of a speedlight flash for example. We don’t want the camera to pick up any of the ambient/natural light at all, and by doing that we have an instant black backdrop.

Now I just want to add that this technique can be done with any camera that has the ability to be put into Manual Mode and has the ability to trigger off camera flash; so that means SLR’s and some pocket cameras such as the Canon G range (G9, G10 and so on…)

There’s only ’5 Steps’ to it…

1. Put your camera into MANUAL MODE. Yes, now we are in control: Shutter Speed, Aperture, iso…from this point onwards we’re telling the camera what to do as opposed to the camera telling us and giving us the picture it thinks we want.

2. ISO…Set your camera to it’s lowest possible ISO. In laymen’s terms, the iso dictates how sensitive to light your camera’s sensor is i.e a low number like 200 means it’s less sensitive to light whereas a higher number like 1600 means it’s more sensitive to light. On a side note the higher the iso number the more noise/grain can be introduced into your photograph, particularly in the shadow areas. Now, seeing as we’re looking to make a black backdrop we’re not concerned with how sensitive to light the camera is, so we’ll be keeping our iso as low as possible; in my case, my Nikon D3 can go down to 100 which means the camera isn’t very sensitive to light at all and the final picture will be nice and clean with minimal grain/noise.

3. Shutter Speed…Set your camera to its maximum/optimum sync speed. Basically this is the maximum speed that your camera and flash work together ie any faster than this and your camera’s shutter is opening and closing too quickly to allow all the light from your flash to fill the camera’s sensor. Common maximum sync speeds are in the 1/200th of a second to 1/250th of a second. Now although we could quite easily make the scene completely black by going to an incredibly high shutter speed like 1/8000th second the problem with this is that the shutter will open and close so quickly that none of the light from the flash will hit the sensor, so we must stick to the maximum sync speed that our cameras and flashes work ‘together’.

4. Aperture…The final setting on our cameras is the aperture or basically what ‘f’ number we should select. Now, knowing roughly what ‘f’ number to use will become second nature after you’ve done this a few times so the best thing is to choose say, f/5.6 and go from there. Once you’re at this stage take a photo of your subject and see what results you get. The objective here is to see absolutely nothing on your cameras display ie you should see a completely black screen. Now, if you don’t and you’re seeing a bit of the environment then clearly some natural/ambient light is creeping into the scene. So, all we have to do is close down our ‘f’ number a little ie if you’re getting natural/ambient light into the photo at say f/5.6 then try going to f/8.0 and see what that gives you:

5. Bring in the flash…Now we’ve ‘set the scene’ with our camera’s and have a completely black screen, the final phase to this technique is to ‘bring in the flash’. Where you prefer to position your flash and what modifier you use is entirely down to you depending on the look you want to achieve but I find I get great results using a 60″ reflective umbrella. This is a great piece of kit that creates beautiful light but I can also ‘close down’ to control where I want the light to fall and how much etc…

Again experience of having done this a few times will dictate what power level you put the flash on so until that time just pick a power level ie 1/4 power, then take a shot and see what you get. If you want more light then increase the power of the flash in increments until you get what you want. If the light from the flash is too bright then simply lower the power level in increments.

As a rule, Shutter Speed controls Ambient/Natural light and Aperture controls flash power but in this technique once we’ve set both the shutter speed and aperture to give us our black background we really need to leave them well alone and control the power of the flash manually by walking over to (or better still having an assistant) adjust it by hand.

Triggering the flash
As this technique uses ‘off camera’ flash we need to have a way of triggering our flash. I use Pocket Wizards which are the industry standard radio triggers; great pieces if kit, very reliable that work at ridiculous distances, but they do have a price tag to match. However, there are lots of alternative ways to trigger your flash from a simple ‘sync lead’ which forms a physical connection to your camera and flash (with obvious limitations), an infra red trigger, Nikon users can use their ‘Pop-Up’ flashes to trigger another flash using the Nikon CLS (Creative Lighting System) and there’s even budget radio triggers you can get off ebay that seem to work just fine.

In Summary:

1. MANUAL MODE

2. LOWEST ‘ISO’ (200 or lower)

3. MAXIMUM SYNC SPEED (1/250th sec, 1/200th sec etc… depending on your camera)

4. SELECT AN APERTURE (ie f/5.6 as a starting point)

5. BRING IN THE FLASH

So, that quite simply is all there is to it. Now I’ve deliberately not gone into too much technical jargon to explain this because I want this to be a ‘how to’ tutorial as opposed to a ‘why’ but should you wish to know the ins and outs of the technical side I’ll gladly pass on details of books that will cover it all.

A couple of things to note:

1. If you’re using this technique indoors be aware that once you introduce flash, the light might end up bouncing off light coloured walls which will then light the room up and so destroy your black backdrop. My advice when using this technique indoors would be to restrict where the light falls by using such modifiers as a Honl Speed Grid or a Lastolite EzyBox, or ‘close down’ your reflective umbrella.

2. If you’re using Speedlights outside to do this technique you may find that if you’re doing it in the middle of a bright afternoon your cameras aperture (f number) will have to be set so closed down (eg f/22) that your speedlights wont be powerful enough to light the sensor. The answer here is to find a covered/shady area or better still wait for the sun to ease off a little. This technique can be done in the middle of the afternoon on a bright sunny day but that would call for alot more powerful lighting to be used which in turn would cost alot more money.

So what next?

If you have any questions then post them to the comments section…that way others with the same question will get the answers too. Also let me know how you get on…I’d love to see some of the results you come up with, or any challenges you experience and if you get the urge why not leave a comment…any feedback is great and don’t worry, I’ve got broad shoulders.

Enjoy.

In the meantime, here’s a few more examples:

Why not try this technique on ‘still life’ too as in this photograph I took of a Prototype Microphone whilst shooting at the Imperial College, London.

April 19, 2014 - 8:35 pm

download for no good reason - Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like
you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with some
pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is fantastic blog.
An excellent read. I will certainly be back.

March 28, 2014 - 12:13 am

Micah - Great stuff, thank you!

March 27, 2014 - 5:38 am

Glyn - No, any light modifier where you can direct the light source will be great for this.

Glyn

March 25, 2014 - 11:37 pm

Aayush - Hi Glyn
does this technique require us to have a reflective umbrella ?

March 4, 2014 - 9:27 am

Glyn - The shutter speed controls the ambient and the aperture controls the flash however if when you’re at the max sync speed and there’s still ambient then yeah you’ll need to use aperture too. Hope that helps.

March 3, 2014 - 9:02 pm

Photo Don - Wow this is really cool. I think you’ve made it really easy to understand. So am I right in thinking that aperture basically controls the amount of ambient light that appears in your photo? Thanks for sharing. Don

February 16, 2014 - 9:06 pm

Glyn - Sure thing but it won’t offer so many opportunities for positioning where the light falls on you subject.
Glyn

February 16, 2014 - 3:01 am

Pashminu Mansukhani - Very easy to follow post. Will the same technique work with a flash gun mounted on the camera?

February 7, 2014 - 11:01 pm

Ross Andress - Nikon d3100 and D3200 have max sync speed 02 1/200

January 17, 2014 - 4:15 am

Nikki - Please never mind my previous post I have an umbrella and plan to go out tomorrow and give it try. I am however still interested in more of the technical aspects of it.
Thanks for the tutorial!

January 16, 2014 - 6:54 am

Dave - Because of so many health and fitness related cons, primarily on the subject of
belly items, available nowadays, you simply
can’t help in however wonder that programs work.
With outlined justification and manuals, persons are revealed how exercises should
correctly be completed. In the panic or anxiety I registered a health and fitness center and golf golf club –
put in a king’s ransom.

January 13, 2014 - 5:04 pm

Liz Rose - I want to do a shot of a basketball team with the hardwood floor showing but I want the background to be dark. How do I go about doing this with a group of 14 boys? Thank u

Liz Rose

January 13, 2014 - 5:09 am

Nikki - Hello Glyn,
I am committed to mastering your technique! I love it! Would you mind if I asked specifically which umbrella you used? And I would love any information to study further into this tecnique.

Nikki

December 3, 2013 - 7:46 pm

lewis - Kam increase f number and take pics without flash until it goes black then introduce flash

December 3, 2013 - 6:13 pm

Kam - I am trying to do this with my camera (Nikon D3100) ISO is at 100; the rest is at f/5.6 and 1/250.
but it wont work. i use the flash and parts of the background will still light up. why is that?

November 25, 2013 - 9:48 pm

Jeff Dowell - Anyone try this technique with Yongnuo brand Flashes/transceivers?

I’m thinking of buying pocket wizard plus III’s, but have been reading a lot about this brand as a cheaper alternative.

October 24, 2013 - 7:07 am

Steve - Glyn, I’m a beginner with two quick questions:
First, I have a basic lighting kit on the way (2 light boxes, 2 light umbrellas & 3 mylar backgrounds. Very basic $130 for everything) and want to know if I can achieve this effect using a non flashing light and, if so, how would I alter the shot?

Second, I notice a lot of these types of pics have a very gritty, harsh contrast making the subject (generally older men) seem very weathered and stoic. It may be referred to as black and white grunge as well. I believe this is a post processing effect but am not sure. Can you please give any pointers you might have on achieving that effect?

Thank you for the post, it was written so clearly that a brand new hobbyist photographer could follow it!

Steve

September 8, 2013 - 10:57 pm
August 22, 2013 - 4:34 am

Como fazer: Fundo invisível - […] fotógrafo Glyn Dewis escreveu um tutorial em seu blog explicando como fazer uma foto com fundo negro em qualquer local, mesmo com luz […]

August 19, 2013 - 5:12 am

Glyn - @srinath…Sure thing; possible with most if not all cameras.

August 17, 2013 - 7:24 pm

srinath - thanks for the tips glyn. Is this invisible black drop possible in eos 60d??

July 16, 2013 - 8:37 pm

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July 5, 2013 - 12:19 am

Glyn - Mark there’ll always be something I do in post production even if it’s enhancing the highlights or tweeking the shadow areas so yeah :)

July 4, 2013 - 3:09 pm

Mark - Hi Glyn! I really love this kinda of photography and have tried this technique several times, but have always ended up doing some post processing in lightroom or pse to help keep dark areas dark and maybe bring out areas that I want lit. Do you have to do any post-processing like this, or am I simply missing something in my technique?

June 30, 2013 - 9:49 am

Lucas - Hello!
I’m a beginner and I wanted to know if it is possible to obtain
such results with a normal “on board” flash. My camera is a pentax K-10, the maximum sync speed between the flash and the shutter is 1/250.
I tried indoor with very poor results, by far.. :(

Thanks for the help!

June 18, 2013 - 10:58 pm

Sherri - That was really easy to understand, thanks so much!! I’m book marking this site and will be using it often! :D

June 14, 2013 - 6:43 am

Get an Invisible Black Background to Your Portraits – Shooting Anywhere [VIDEO] | Photo Savy - [...] of what can be done with this effect – check out Glyn’s blog posts on the topic here and [...]

June 14, 2013 - 1:30 am

Get an Invisible Black Background to Your Portraits – Shooting Anywhere [VIDEO] - Digital Photo Help - [...] of what can be done with this effect – check out Glyn’s blog posts on the topic here and [...]

June 14, 2013 - 12:36 am

Get an Invisible Black Background to Your Portraits – Shooting Anywhere [VIDEO] | Photo Video Blogs - [...] more examples of what can be done with this effect – check out Glyn’s blog posts on the topic here and [...]

June 13, 2013 - 11:49 pm

Get an Invisible Black Background to Your Portraits – Shooting Anywhere [VIDEO] | Willows PS - [...] of what can be done with this effect – check out Glyn’s blog posts on the topic here and [...]

June 13, 2013 - 9:19 pm

Get an Invisible Black Background to Your Portraits – Shooting Anywhere [VIDEO] | Photography in Australia - [...] more examples of what can be done with this effect – check out Glyn’s blog posts on the topic here and [...]

June 13, 2013 - 8:51 pm

Get an Invisible Black Background to Your Portraits – Shooting Anywhere [VIDEO] @ Spotofoto - [...] of what can be done with this effect – check out Glyn’s blog posts on the topic here and [...]

May 24, 2013 - 10:16 pm

Jere - Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article.

I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I will definitely comeback.

May 24, 2013 - 6:45 am

Bambit Gaerlan - After 2 test shots, success!

My settings: Details: 50mm 1.8 @ f/10, 1/125, ISO100. Under the mango tree in our backyard, standing about 2 meters away from the wall. Reflective umbrella half open, YN460MII flashgun on full, Commander Mode on the Nikon D7000.

Thank you for this wonderful tutorial! :)

May 24, 2013 - 6:18 am

Nash - What if Im just using my built-in flash? what is the right distance and f?

May 23, 2013 - 7:55 pm

picstah – Fotografie Blog » Bei Tageslicht porträtieren ohne großen Aufwand - [...] Hier zeigt Glyn auch nochmal Schritt für Schritt wie er vorgegangen ist… [...]

May 23, 2013 - 3:33 am

Steve - very nice. can’t wait to try it!

May 19, 2013 - 1:02 am

Andy Wills - @Mithun Chakrabarty – seriously you need it invest in at least 1 off camera flash and/or cable (I say cable (TTL) as that is cheaper than a remote trigger. There is very little scope for creativity when you use either the pop up flash or leave the flash on the camera hotshoe.

May 19, 2013 - 12:55 am

Andy Wills - @Bob Hauver try putting your flash in manual mode. Start at about 1/4 output setting. Working with TTL means that your camera is trying to “adjust” to get (what it thinks) is the correct exposure, regardless of what you you are trying to achieve!

May 17, 2013 - 6:55 pm

Bob Hauver - Using Nikon D5100 and Vivitar DF-383-NIK flash set on TTL and have some questions. After setting the camera to your suggestions, I do not get a black screen. Should I see a black screen in the viewfinder? To get some black background I have set my shutter at 320 or 400, with aperture at f22. I’ve tried several settings and can’t get anything close to your images. Appreciate your advice.

May 15, 2013 - 7:15 am
May 5, 2013 - 9:23 am

Mithun Chakrabarty - your invisible black background technique is really great but can u please suggest if i want the same application without flash umbrella what will the instructions.i’v only my camera build flash available so,what will be the settings for the same quality photo shoot in black back drop techniques.please reply
regards

April 9, 2013 - 5:02 am

ingrid.it - It’a a great tutorial for black backdrop! What about translating in Italian language too?

March 12, 2013 - 11:51 am

fionna sturgeon - i have to take photos of models for a hair/beauty thing at the school i lecture at (i am a painter and art historian but they think we do photography too!)
we are shooting inside
they are dolled up to the max
i have no plain background – just a sticky outback australia pub floor
will this technique work for that?
what if i put a flash thing over their head to light their hairstyle as its a hair show.
i am in a state of high anxiety over it.
ADORE you no black background images. you are an artist – they are so caravaggio!
fifi
geraldton WA

March 12, 2013 - 5:29 am

Theo Leinad - Hey, I´m preparing a powerpoint presentation to show low key and high key, It’s tomorrow, so I don’t have enough time to ask you for permission.
Since this is a tutorial and illustrative information (non-commercial purposes) I’m going to borrow the before and after image, as well, I’m providing the link and giving the credits.
I hope you don’t go crazy :P

darkfalco@gmail.com

just in case.

March 6, 2013 - 8:40 am

Eljer - Hi Glyn

Am new of this SLR canon D600,I would your advice if how I can take black round photo using this canon d 600?and what is the set up?

March 3, 2013 - 1:16 pm

Ruud - My iso is at 100

March 3, 2013 - 12:56 pm

Lewis Romane - Rhudd whats your ISO at mate and have you tried towards the end of the day in the afternoon

March 3, 2013 - 12:22 pm

Ruud - I cannot seem to get this to work. I use a Nikon D7000. Whether or not I am inside or outside I always have the background showing up. I have used different lenses to try this.

With the background 20 meters away, I even get some of that in the picture with f22 and a shutter speed of 1/320. My camera is certainly in manual mode and setup to be the master (since I use Nikon with an external SB-700).

I have reduced the power of both flashes to a minimum, but I still get a visible background. I don’t get it.

Any ideas what I am doing wrong?

March 1, 2013 - 8:35 pm

Deanna - Glyn, great tutorial but I am a bit confused. I am using a Nikon D80 with speedlight sb600 with all the settings you recommended. From reading all the comments it seems I need a speed grid or closed down umbrella, is that correct? How far away should my speedlight be from person and my camera be from person? I want to shoot parts of a newborn like just their feet and have the rest fade to away in the background to black.

February 27, 2013 - 5:02 am

Glyn - hez…CLose down your Aperture so try f/11, f/16 and give that a go. Glyn

February 26, 2013 - 12:14 am

hez - Glyn,

I tried this technique and the background was bright oe well exposed. I used my D 300 S in the manual mode, set my ISO at 250 using a SB 8oo speedlight and the f stops were F 5.6 and 8. I was about 4 ft from my subject.

What can I do different?

Thanks,
Chez

February 18, 2013 - 10:48 am

Ronny - “The Invisible Black Backdrop – Photography Technique – Glyn Dewis” was indeed a
very good blog. If it included much more pix this should be possibly even more effective.

Regards -Ashley

February 17, 2013 - 12:37 pm

Glyn - Hi Carlene…Can I confirm that you’re shooting in Manual Mode? If you are then nothing should change at all as you’re taking control of everything. Let me know.

Glyn

February 17, 2013 - 12:37 pm

Glyn - Hi Carlene…Can I cofirm that you’re shooting in Manual Mode? If you are then nothing should change at all as you’re taking control of everything. Let me know.

Glyn

February 16, 2013 - 8:05 pm

carlene - Please help. Trying the black background. I can get all the settings right but as soon as I press the button to bring in the flash it alters all my settings. Im using the Sony a350. Any ideas???

February 16, 2013 - 8:05 pm

carlene - Please help. Trying the black background. I can get all the settings right but as soon as I press the button to bring in the flash it alters all my settings. Im using the Sony a350. Any ideas???

February 12, 2013 - 11:04 pm

Glyn - Hi Lizzie…Thanks so much for your comment :)
Ok as for your questions, yeah any way of triggering the flash will work and as for when you take the shot, just put all the settings in and then take your shot with the flash ;)

Glyn

February 12, 2013 - 4:07 pm

lizzie - Best tutorial on ‘darkened’ background I’ve seen.I just need to practice this again and again, especially with the flash and the flash trigger. can i use my radio wave receiver/transmitter to trigger the flash?

Question – just to show u how technically challenged I am: after you do all the settings – shutter speed, aperture, iso, do you press the shutter release and take a shot before introducing the flash? or do you just do the settings and go ahead and add flash?

January 29, 2013 - 1:22 am

http://www.zeitreise-2030.de - Hey there are using WordPress for your blog platform?
I’m new to the

blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own.
Do you need any coding

knowledge to make your own blog? Any help would be
really appreciated!

January 25, 2013 - 7:13 pm

Photography Techniques » Black Background Photography Techniques - [...] The Invisible Black Backdrop – Photography Technique – Glyn Dewis [...]

January 17, 2013 - 10:59 am

Glyn - Carly, you do have to restrict the light spill when doing this indoors otherwise it will naturally reflect off walls etc. when using an umbrella just close it down so that it turns into a soft box and directs the light more. No need to buy a soft box for this, and yeah it does work on people indoors too as I use it a lot.

Glyn

January 17, 2013 - 10:55 am

Carley - Gave it a go with both flash umbrella & continuous lighting umbrella, works for smaller objects but with people or bigger subjects, just wasn’t cutting out the background.
Tried this indoors.

Thanks anyway, will have to just keep playing around or get a soft box & do it the simple way lol.

January 9, 2013 - 8:30 pm

Glyn - Declan…That way works best for me mate

January 7, 2013 - 9:58 pm

Glyn - Declan, so long as you can direct the light as opposed to having it spill everywhere then you can use just about anything; however the umbrella I found to be the cheapest and most adaptable piece of kit to use for this.
Hope that helps,
Glyn

January 7, 2013 - 9:56 pm

Declan - Hi, do i need that separate flash on the umbrella for this to work?

January 4, 2013 - 9:58 pm

Nohemi - If I were attempting this, would a strip box work with a grid in an indoor setting? Should I steer away from a larger strip box? Just wondering would love to try and recreate this effect on some of my indoor boudoir sessions

Great tutorial by the way :)

January 4, 2013 - 4:35 am

kathy p - Hi! Thank you for this fantastic tutorial… I am told the shot I am setting up is going to be quite difficult — even for a professional (which I am not) — so this will come in handy. I am wondering if you would have any other suggestions.

I am trying to shoot a blonde, fair – ruddy skinned teenager, wearing all black sitting at a black baby grand piano. Of course, this is indoors (wall colors are bluish) I have some natural light from a window about 10 feet away. The hope is to capture the boy as well as (hopefully) get some of his reflection in the piano.

I shoot with Nikon (D7000), manual & RAW. I have a little external flash that works with my camera but I don’t even know how to use it… Honestly, I almost always use natural light.

Any other tips?

December 20, 2012 - 4:45 pm

Glyn - Hi Brett thanks for that. As for a hair light…no mate…this is how I like the pictures to look plus adding a hair light is what a lot of people might do.
Glyn

December 20, 2012 - 3:16 pm

Brett - Nice technique. Have you considered a hair or back light to create seperation between the subject and black background?

November 22, 2012 - 12:58 am

vmarmo.com Art Photography - Great article. Photos with black background are gorgeous and very artistic.

November 6, 2012 - 8:38 pm

Black Background on a Budget | SuiteHound - [...] a good article on how to use an “invisible black backdrop” on Glyn Dewis’ blog but for that you really do need [...]

November 3, 2012 - 11:20 am

Digital_Animal - @Kallie,
did you use an umbrella?
wich flashgun?

November 3, 2012 - 4:12 am

Kallie - I just did this with my Canon T2I, and it worked! What I found was that it only works with an object that is focused up close and not one that is zoomed out. I used the settings specified on this page. I have not experimented with other settings, but I was pretty impressed on how easy this was. Again, it has to be focused on something fairly up close, but it does work! Thank you!!

October 28, 2012 - 1:15 am

Digital_Animal - I have a question about triggerind an ext flash, my equipment is:
canon600D
canon 270 EX II

so my camera is wireless and I can trigger the 270 EX II that I put in an umbrella via pop-up flash, but I’m wondering if the light that comes from the popup flash would ruin and waste the light that comes from the ext flash

October 6, 2012 - 1:07 pm

Prashant - Very informative blog and Thanks Glyn for sharing this information.

September 18, 2012 - 5:40 pm

Técnica Invisible Black Backdrop - [...] Hace algún tiempo conocí una técnica llamada Invisible Black Backdrop. La primera vez que la vi con ese nombre fue en el blog de Glyn Dewis. [...]

September 17, 2012 - 6:06 pm

Wedding Photographer - I am a Wedding Photographer in Nottingham and I think your tutorial is fantastic, I’ve tried a few of the shots which I will have to up load to see what you think, thanks again, this has made Wedding Photography so much easier, I hope to compete with the other Wedding Photographers now!

Lewis

September 15, 2012 - 10:47 pm

El fondo negro invisible - Photoshop Servicios Web Gratis | Photoshop Servicios Web Gratis - [...] fondos, telas y demas. Fue desarrollada (o al menos la hizo publica) el fotografo Glyn Dewis, cuya explicacion en su blog demuestra que es de lo mas simple. El unico requisito es un flash externo activado remotamente, [...]

September 13, 2012 - 5:57 pm

Lewis Romane - Hi

Im going to try your invisable back drop later this evening i as wondering if you do courses, check out my site, i get some good results, but not really sure what im doing!!

Lewis Romane

August 24, 2012 - 5:24 am

Gabriel - Just discovered this technique while photographing an event today and I definitely will make very good use of it and try it out.

August 8, 2012 - 8:13 am

stanisław żółczyński - Good idea. But what about this technic in full sunlight. As we remember there`s sunny 16/22 rule. This implies that shutter speed equals ISO. Thus on the beach we have at 200 ISO 1/200sec and f:22. Now to make the background go you need some 2-3 stops underexposure. You would need a 8ND or 16ND filter to achieve it and still you are left with f:22, not the best aperture quality like (diffraction). Well, leaf shutter can help as traditionally they sync up to 1/500sec, while my Ricoh GXR with A12 28 and 50 units sync up to 1/3200sec!

August 2, 2012 - 9:18 pm

Glyn - Sure thing but might need to put something between the hotshoe and the connectors as you may find the camera will lock down at a certain sync speed such as 1/60sec.
Hope that helps,
Glyn

August 2, 2012 - 12:18 pm

Robug Image - Hi there, great article. Can this technique be modified by using an “on camera” flash?

July 31, 2012 - 4:59 pm

PhotoyZ « Zeorymer™ Ω - [...] BTW — Here’s an interesting article which I’d like to share. The Invisible Black Backdrop [...]

July 20, 2012 - 2:46 pm

the f8 blog: Life with a camera in hand » July 20 2012 FMR - [...]  The invisible backdrop technique. Can be replicated naturally if there is a beam of light. [...]

June 27, 2012 - 8:24 pm

Como lograr un fondo completamente negro en exteriores, al medio día - Erubbey Cantoral | Blog - [...] así que terminé haciendo fotos de algunos de mis compañeros aprovechando la técnica de “The Invisible Black Backdrop” obviamente ayudado con flashes externos y un disparador de radio. Para hacer una foto con el [...]

June 23, 2012 - 1:26 am

One Man's Focus » Blog Archive » Success with the invisible black backdrop - [...] I was complaining about my failure at attempting The Invisible Black Backdrop technique described here. f4.2 1/250 ISO [...]

June 23, 2012 - 1:20 am

Thomas - It took a while to get a chance to try it, but I finally managed to get this down. My attempt is at:
http://www.onemansfocus.com/2012/06/22/success-with-the-invisible-black-backdrop/

Thanks for publishing this article. I plan on getting a lot of use out of this information.

May 31, 2012 - 7:42 am

M B A Khan - Thanks Glyn… very informative!

April 30, 2012 - 12:56 pm

Starloft Photography » The Invisible Black Background | Sterling, VA | Northern Virginia Photographer - [...] I thought I’d try the technique described here to create an “invisible black background” with Nikki the “supermodel.” [...]

April 29, 2012 - 10:44 pm

Bob Tan - Thank you….yes it remind me ….cant wait to try again

April 24, 2012 - 6:32 am

Glyn - Hey Matt, thats’ great to hear…thanks for posting :)

April 22, 2012 - 12:38 am

Matt - Hi again. I commented a couple of days ago asking for some help.

Well, right after I commented I went ahead and ordered a speed grid. I figured since it was only 13 USD it couldn’t hurt. I got it the next day and started playing around with it. Cutting to the chase, it helped out immensely. I didn’t realize how big of an area the light from my flash spread out in. Now I can keep the background dark and only illuminate the subject way easier.

So, thanks again for sharing this technique, even though this is two years later from when you first posted it.

April 20, 2012 - 7:32 pm
April 20, 2012 - 10:52 am

The Invisible Black Backdrop – Photography Technique » Glyn Dewis Blog | princeshutter - [...] The Invisible Black Backdrop – Photography Technique » Glyn Dewis Blog. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

April 20, 2012 - 8:28 am

Alan Milan - Very informative and practical as well

April 20, 2012 - 7:09 am

Rajesh Sharda - Gr8

April 19, 2012 - 11:55 pm

Matt - Hiya. Great post. I’ve been trying it out and need to ask for some help.

I black out the scene but I always seems to get some of the background in it when the flash fires. I think this is because it’s spreading the light at such a wide angle. Will the speed grid pretty much solve this? And will the speed grid work for outdoor use as well or do you pretty much need an umbrella that you can close down to focus the light?

Also, how far is your subject from objects in the background? It appears to be a few feet in front of the background objects in some of the examples and right against the background in others (i.e. the man reading a book by the bookcase). It would seem that if the subject is right against the background, then the background will show up when the flash fires. Again, does the speed grid or an umbrella prevent this from happening?

Hopefully my questions made sense, and thanks for the help.

April 19, 2012 - 10:47 pm

Glyn - Hi John,
It’s certainly possible to take a portrait in a dark area if you had a strong bit of directional light coming in such as string sunlight through a small window but it certainly doesn’t offer the flexibility of this technique. To be honest the time it takes to do this technique you could be rattling of a whole series of shots before being 100% happy with the natural light scenario. Hope that makes sense ;)

April 19, 2012 - 10:44 pm

Glyn - Greetings Dennis :)

April 19, 2012 - 10:43 pm

John - Hey Glyn, just wondering if this technique works using continous light? New to photography. Thanks!

April 19, 2012 - 10:36 pm

Dennis - Wow, super thanks for the great tips, greetings from the Netherlands

April 19, 2012 - 7:59 pm

Glyn - That’s great to hear Doug; thanks for that :)

April 19, 2012 - 7:47 pm

Doug - Fantastic explanation of a great technique!
80% of my portrait work is done in this manner…

http://www.prairieglenproductions.com/People/Portraits/18436009_qGhqB6#!i=1733446313&k=L5HChbS

April 19, 2012 - 5:19 am

Wow, I’m in the New York Times !!! » Glyn Dewis Blog - [...] of weeks back Scott Kelby posted on his Google+ page about a technique I’d written called the Invisible Black Back Backdrop. In it I explain how to take portrait shots in virtually any location, and using minimal kit and a [...]

April 18, 2012 - 1:57 am

RicardoC - I read a lot about lighting techniques to try to learn a little bit… And I’ll be honest… Most practical, useful and easy tutorial ever! I nailed a nice picture on my very first try! Loved it!

April 14, 2012 - 7:03 am

Glyn - Georg…Lots of reasons and the first being ‘Why?’ When it can take literally seconds to shoot I wouldn’t even think about spending time doing it in PS; and that’s coming from someone who loves working in PS. I’m also a photographer.

April 12, 2012 - 6:44 pm

georg - Very interesting. Why not doing this in the post production?

April 12, 2012 - 7:33 am

Glyn - Lydia…Do you have your flash on-camera and is your flash in manual also?

April 12, 2012 - 1:02 am

Lydia Button - I’ve been trying to get this same effect. Just one problem: When I set my aperture to F.8, my camera automatically won’t let me use a 1/250 shutter speed. AGGH! I have all settings on manual.

April 11, 2012 - 5:16 am

Affordable Underwater Housing For Your iPhone. And A Real Shutter Button For That Same iPhone. And How To Instantly Get A Solid Black Background. | Photos on the Go - [...] click here to read Glyn’s comments (and if you never read the original how-to tip from Glyn also click here). Thank you, [...]

April 9, 2012 - 11:55 am

2 Tips when using The Invisible Black Backdrop Technique » Glyn Dewis Blog - [...] sure was great last week to receive so much positive feedback from my Invisible Black Backdrop technique that Scott Kelby very kindly shared over on his Google+ page; such a simple technique and [...]

April 9, 2012 - 4:11 am

Owen Glendower - Good article. Found it linked on Photocamel.

http://photocamel.com/forum/photography-talk/158014-black-background.html#post1567449

Glyn, I think that many people have almost achieved this black-background effect by accident. I’m sure that we’ve all used our on-camera flash to take pictures of friends at an indoor party. Our friends come out perfectly exposed, most likely, but you can hardly see anything in the background.

April 5, 2012 - 12:06 pm

Conseguir un fondo negro jugando con la iluminación | Albert Gascón - [...] artículo original (en inglés), contiene algún ejemplo [...]

April 5, 2012 - 12:15 am

Glyn - Hey Dave, questions for you…

*Are you doing this indoors?
*If yes, what modifier are you using to restrict the light from the flash lighting everything up?
*Have you set the scene i.e. made everything black before you use your flash?

Let me know mate and we’ll sort it.
Glyn

April 5, 2012 - 12:06 am

Dave - I can’t seem to get it right without a dark background. Does the flash need to fire or is it continuous lighting that one needs. I tend to still get my background lit up. Please help!

April 4, 2012 - 10:22 pm

Glyn - Cheers Colin ;)

April 4, 2012 - 2:15 pm

Colin Spencer - Thanks for a great article. I will be posting a link back to it from my blog.

April 3, 2012 - 4:10 pm

Glyn - Guys it’s so good to see this kind of feedback. Be sure to let me know how you get on and if you have any Q’s be sure to drop me a line ;)

April 3, 2012 - 4:02 pm

Kurt F. - Thank you SOOOOO much for sharing this! This totally made my day. :)

April 3, 2012 - 3:00 pm

David Lunt - This is a great how to post! I use OCF a lot but have been relying on TTL and just starting to venture into manual so I can do things like this. I was basically trying to do this last night and didn’t pull it off. Now I know how to do it. Thanks!

April 3, 2012 - 1:41 pm

Jenn - Very useful, and clearly explained. Thanks!

April 3, 2012 - 5:17 am

Salman Ahmad - This is great. The way you explained it made me feel kinna dumb as i always wondered how do photographers do this awesome black background.
Nice to learn from you and thanks for sharing.

April 3, 2012 - 2:36 am

El fondo negro invisible - [...] fondos, telas y demás. Fue desarrollada (o al menos la hizo publica) el fotógrafo Glyn Dewis, cuya explicación en su blog demuestra que es de lo más simple. El único requisito es un flash externo activado remotamente, [...]

April 3, 2012 - 2:14 am

Lighting Technique I Found « Alex C Photography - [...] like this around. It turns out there is. This link is for those who want there subject i.e person. Click here to open [...]

April 2, 2012 - 10:28 pm

Glyn - So good to read that this has been of interest to you folks. Thanks so much for taking the time to post comments ;)

April 2, 2012 - 10:26 pm

Glyn - @Ted…You’re welcome mate; enjoy

April 2, 2012 - 9:02 pm

Cofa - Excellent article! Very well written as all steps are clearly explained. I am not expert but the steps are easily understood to me. Thanks for sharing!

April 2, 2012 - 7:01 pm

Sotiris - Excellent technique idea and tutorial, thank you for sharing!

April 2, 2012 - 5:53 pm

The Invisible Black Backdrop – Photography Technique | Simon Cooper - [...] The Invisible Black Backdrop – Photography Technique Over the past few weeks in preparation for the launch of my new ‘InSight Photography Workshop’ I’ve been running ‘testers’ (mini workshops) with groups of photographers to teach a range of lighting techniques and also to get brutal honest feedback. 2 April, 2012 by simoncooper Categories: Blog | Leave a comment [...]

April 2, 2012 - 4:14 pm

Debbie - wonderful, I have a really posh camera which my hubby bought as a gift for me, other than point and click I have never being able to to use it, so going to keep your blogs and give your internet workshops a go, at least I can understand what you are saying as you use normal every day words, oh and show picture instruction too.
thank you me dear.

April 2, 2012 - 3:55 pm

Gina In Vista CA - I’m a wannabe photographer. I appreciate your describing this in simple terms. I want to learn and get better but so often people make this stuff too darn technical and I’m just not there yet. Thanks

April 2, 2012 - 3:07 pm

Alex - What a fantastic blog post. Your explanations of the exposure triangle were brief, but just enough to make this “newbie friendly.”

In my Gimp Tutorials I frequently talk about “shooting for the edits,” that being the importance of taking good shots that are photo-editing friendly. You have done just that with this technique.

You could even adjust your F just a little bit to give a slight background, and a very bright subject. They would really stick out if you did that!

April 2, 2012 - 2:52 pm

Todd - AWESOME! Thanks for the education!

April 2, 2012 - 2:42 pm

wallygaw - Hi, great tip Glyn.

As the commenter Tim said, moving the light source closer to the subject will help a lot.

Especially in alleviating the problem with using this technique outdoors when it is a very bright day.

If the photographer is reminded of the ‘inverse square law’ regarding light, IE, ‘light falls off/increases with the square of the distance’.

An example, moving the light closer by 1/2 the light to subject distance increases the strength of the light by a factor of 4x.

April 2, 2012 - 2:42 pm

Teresa - I have been looking for a “learning site”. Thank you.

April 2, 2012 - 2:30 pm

Ted - Thanks for a new tool for the box! I look fwd to playing with it TODAY.

April 2, 2012 - 2:14 pm

Anonymous - [...] [...]

April 1, 2012 - 7:10 pm

Glyn - @Miguel…You’re welcome; thanks for that :)

March 31, 2012 - 8:58 pm

Miguel Campos - It’s a very cool technique!
I have used that one a couple of weeks ago in one of my London Photowalks and I decided to shoot a Flower using that technique, and it’s so amazing that I’ve sent a Print to USA :)
Thank you so much for sharing all your knowledge!

March 24, 2012 - 7:12 pm

Britt - Is there a way to do this with the flash connected to the hot shoe if you don’t have a transmitter or receiver?

February 12, 2012 - 11:39 pm

tim - Ha! result, working in a fairly small room, i at first found it very difficult to maintain the black background and a even exposure on myself(yep had no model, SAm was busy downstairs) at first i used my masive softbox, the realised my mistake in that it was far to large, tried the closed down umbrella, but because the room was small and a creamish wall paper the bounce caused some issue. So to remidy the problem i used a world wide product know to fix any problem, yep duct tape and some cardboard. I needed to control the light overspill and it worked like a charm, even though i said to you i did not think it would work i can be a little stuburn at times so worked on it till it did.
So here is a link to my album from the photos i did today

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150674878426834.451682.634306833&type=1&l=5940df9b76

Once id gotten the background right i was underexposed but as i powered up the flash so the overspill would inclrease, moving the light closer, dropping the power again and eventually i got it right 247 photos later, but did learn alot so the next time should be much faster and almost spot on from the begining.

Thanks for giving me something to do this afternoon.
Tim

February 12, 2012 - 5:05 pm

Tim - So here I am in my makeshift studio for now, it’s Sunday the weather is les than ideal, and I’m trying this idea out in a room that’s really only 5×12 odd meters and this does not make it easy

January 26, 2012 - 7:33 pm

Talking at the Jaguar Photographic Society » Glyn Dewis Blog - [...] for refreshments and included a couple of videos, a photography demo where I went through the Invisible Black Backdrop technique and finished off by showing some fast and easy retouching using [...]

January 22, 2012 - 8:50 pm

josemanuelerre - Amazing! I’m starting to use artificial light in my pictures and this (well, every article from this blog) is very very useful :d Thanks for sharing!!!

January 17, 2012 - 8:30 am

Nivek's 365 Project - Page 4 - [...] scuderia st. john condominium, sacred heart, quezon city camera model: canon digital ixus 65 the invisible black backdrop is one of the many photography techniques that amazes me. i was itching to try this when i found [...]

December 5, 2011 - 4:41 am

sanjib das - Great tutorial. I tried. Worked fantastic!!!

October 29, 2011 - 4:14 pm

TRUCOS Y CONSEJOS | The Invisible Black Backdrop: El fondo negro e invisible según Glyn Dewis | ideasweb.info | Noticias, Software y novedades. Las mejores aplicaciones web, con los trucos más útiles y toda la información en nuestro blog. - [...] En fin, que dí una vuelta de nuevo por su blog y recordé su técnica de lo que él llama The Invisible Black Backdrop. Cuando me acordé inmediatamente recordaba la sesión del día anterior y que podría haber salido [...]

October 17, 2011 - 1:30 pm

Just because we can, doesn’t mean we have to… » Glyn Dewis Blog - [...] I also showed a Character Portrait Retouch using Photoshop and then demonstrated what I call the Invisible Black Backdrop technique, and this is what leads me onto the title of this blog [...]

October 17, 2011 - 10:14 am

matthew Crozer - Great post, i am gonna try this tonight!

October 14, 2011 - 9:45 pm

Jonathan Thompson - I’m a little late to the party here. Great tutorial Glyn. Looks like you got a lot of folks playing and practicing which is awesome. Catch up soon :)

October 14, 2011 - 9:18 pm

Glyn - Hi Julie…All depends how bright it is outside and how narrow your F.Stop i.e. if it was a bright sunny day and you ended up shooting at say 1/250sec and f/22 to get the black background. If the power from your flash is too much even on it’s lowest setting just close down your aperture more; you already have the black background so closing down your aperture is just going to control flash power…should work a treat :) Hope that helps.

October 14, 2011 - 12:12 pm

jewelzdezine - Glyn, That’s amazing that you can get that type of shot in that much light! Thanks for posting. What about strobes? I have Elinchrom 500 BXri and a small battery pack I use for outdoors. Do you think the strobes would be too strong for this type of technique?
Julie

August 17, 2011 - 10:51 am

Glyn - @Ingetje … That’s right, no black backdrop at all. Check out the walk through I posted on the blog a while back here: http://glyndewisblog.com/2010/01/19/the-invisible-black-backdrop-photography-technique/
Enjoy ;)

August 11, 2011 - 4:04 am

ingetje tadros - also do you HAVE TO USE FLASH?

August 11, 2011 - 4:03 am

ingetje tadros - Hi very interesting so you are saying you do NOT use a black backdrop at all????
where are your workshops?
I’m in Australia :(-
cheers ingetje

July 2, 2011 - 12:36 pm

Glyn - Hi Linda.

Ok, when using this technique indoors there are a few things to be mindful of such as how close is your light source to the walls in the room? … too close and they will be lit up and also reflect light around plus I see you are using a 60″ umbrella but how are you using it? Shoot through or reflective? For this to work indoors you have to restrict where the light from you speedlight and umbrella can go so ‘close down’ the umbrella as in this walk through, and angle it away from any walls or surfaces that are going to reflect light. No matter what aperture you use, if your light source is too big spreading light all over or you don’t have it closed down so it’s only aiming onto your subject, it won’t make a difference. Are you seeing any light at all at f/22? Your pop up flash, if it’s playing the part of a Commander as in the Nikon CLS, then it won’t play a part in the exposure but if it’s being used to slave your main light then it will be…does that make sense?

Let me know how you get on,
Glyn

July 1, 2011 - 4:22 pm

Linda - Hey :)

I came across this page last night, and was really excited to see what could be done without back drops! But I think I must be doing something wrong…

I am indoors, my aperture is 7, but I have experimented up to 22…

My shutter speed is on 250, and my ISO is 100.

I have the 60 inch umbrella with 580EX speedlite II.

I just can’t get a black background. Is it perhaps because my trigger is the pop up flash? But I am standing very far away, using my camera at 200mm. Hmmmm…

Can you help please? :)

June 28, 2011 - 2:09 pm

Glyn - Hi Andrew. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Great to hear the post was useful; would be great to see how you get on with it if poss.

All the best to you,
Glyn

June 26, 2011 - 8:19 am

andrew fields - I have a great time reading and reviewing your post, i really like it and i find it really informative. thank you for sharing this, i thought that shots like this can only be attain through proper studio set up. I really really like it and i’m hoping to try it soon. keep it up!

June 16, 2011 - 10:16 pm

Glyn - Hey Cea, glad you like it. Be sure to share some of your results :)

June 16, 2011 - 10:14 pm

Glyn - You’re welcome ;)

June 16, 2011 - 3:58 pm

Infrared Photography - Thank you for this tutorial :)

June 13, 2011 - 2:21 am

Cea - Wow..thanks so much for sharing this. I always thought that shots like this can only be achieve with proper studio lights. Can’t wait to try it. Thank you! =)

April 22, 2011 - 11:20 pm

Invisible Black Background – short lesson courtesy of Glyn Dewis « - [...] [Click here] to read the tutorial on Glyn Dewis’ blog. [...]

April 12, 2011 - 6:50 pm

Glyn - @Michelle…Thanks so much for the comment; it’s great to hear that the tutorial comes in handy :)

Good luck with the shoot,
Speak soon,
Glyn x

April 12, 2011 - 5:50 pm

Michelle Lovegrove - Have always loved this blog entry and often refer back to it as I have now. I have a boudoir shoot this evening and a quick refresher on this ensures that I can get a moody shot no matter what location I will be faced with.
Really helps to boost my confidence when walking into an unknown setting.

Thanks once again Glyn x

April 7, 2011 - 3:44 am
January 24, 2011 - 7:34 pm

Glyn - @Sonia…You’re welcome. I’d love to see some of the results you get so feel free to send me a link if/when you’re able.

Best wishes, Glyn

January 24, 2011 - 6:57 am

Sonia perdomo - Thanks! I have been burning the backgrounds ;) while editing. I am eager to try this technique and will post a few pics. Thank you for the tutorials, they are of great help

January 23, 2011 - 9:11 am

Glyn - Hi Sonia. The effect or as near as possible could be achieved using natural light to a point but you may find that you’ll have to ‘burn’ down the background in post production/editing to achieve the complete ‘black out’.

Thanks for the comments re the blog; very kind of you :)

January 22, 2011 - 6:14 am

Sonia perdomo - I wanted to achieve the black background using natural light from a window. I already have a black background, but it is not 100 percent invisible, I normally do newborn photography. Can this effect be achieved using natural light ( no flash at all)? By the way, great blog!

January 22, 2011 - 5:02 am

Sonia perdomo - Great instructions! I will give it a try soon!

January 16, 2011 - 7:56 pm

Glyn - Hi Colinda. It’s not ideal to have your flash attached to the camera when doing this technique however it can be done.

You’ll need to make sure that your camera and flash are in Manual otherwise depending on your make/model then the camera may automatically set the shutter speed to 1/60second which is too slow for this technique. Also having the flash on the camera you’ll have to be extra careful that there is nothing behind your subject that is going to have light hit it from off the flash otherwise you’ll see it.

Hope that makes sense,
Glyn

January 15, 2011 - 11:42 pm

Colinda - I am just wondering if you can use the flash attached to your camera, i tried and am not getting very good results, so im thinking it may be because i have to use a off camera flash, could you please let me know thanks, Colinda

January 14, 2011 - 12:07 am

Glyn - @cjheery…Absolutely it can; the process is exactly the same with any ‘off camera’ lighting be it a Speedlight, an Elinchrom Ranger Head etc… There will always be a maximum sync speed you camera and flash can ‘talk’ to each other. Once you know it then all you need to do is set your camera to that speed ie 1/250 second, 1/160 second and so on and if that doesn’t give you a black backdrop you’ll then need to close down your aperture to do so eg f/8.0 to f/11 and so on. Then once you have the black backdrop just bring in the light as normal.

Hope that helps.

January 13, 2011 - 10:57 am

Bernie Lira - Thanks for sharing the technique. Here’s my take:

http://ferrariextreme2006.multiply.com/photos/album/449/The_invisible_black_backdrop#photo=1

January 10, 2011 - 8:51 pm

cjheery - Follow-up: I am referring to the invisible black background. Thanks.

January 10, 2011 - 8:49 pm

cjheery - This is great information, thank you. My question is: can the same effect be done with a strobe light? Sorry, I am totally new to the realm of photography, and I don’t have a camera store in my area. I wasn’t sure whether strobes have sync settings like an off-camera flash.

January 6, 2011 - 8:21 am

The Great Outdoors = Your FREE Studio » Glyn Dewis Blog - [...] was it done? The principle behind this shot was exactly the same as a technique I call the ‘Invisible Black Backdrop‘ where you use the camera to set the scene i.e. make the location completely black and then [...]

November 18, 2010 - 10:26 am

Beware of this man!!! » Glyn Dewis Blog - [...] how you can achieve this particular look almost anywhere at any time of the day. Here’s a link to it or you can just click on the ‘Screen Capture’ [...]

October 22, 2010 - 8:26 am

Glyn - @Nat…Hey thanks for the comment; great to hear the post was useful :)

October 21, 2010 - 12:43 am

Nat - Hi Glyn, you’re a saviour, I’ve always wondered how this could be done and you’ve explained it all in simple words – thank you!! Btw your blog is great, keep it up!!

October 20, 2010 - 8:32 pm

Photo Shoot & Technique: Chanel Fusco » Glyn Dewis Blog - [...] into a ‘closed down’ Reflective/Shoot Thru 46″ Umbrella and using the ‘Invisible Black Background‘ [...]

October 11, 2010 - 10:11 pm

Glyn - @Francis…Thanks for the kind words mate and yeah I’ll be posting more in the future. If you have any ideas for things that would be good to cover feel free to email me and I’ll see what I can do.

Thanks again, Glyn :)

October 11, 2010 - 8:42 pm

Francis Peacocke - Glyn,
I was talking and demonstrating this very technique to a camera club last week. Not as well as you have done here. Wish you had done this last week just to help me out. Great tutorial very well laid out and explained as always. More please!

October 11, 2010 - 6:26 pm

Photo Shoot + The Hollywood Abs Technique » Glyn Dewis Blog - [...] *You can see an example of what I mean by ‘closed down’ when I refer to the umbrella, in my ‘Invisible Black Backdrop’ Technique by clicking here. [...]

September 27, 2010 - 5:52 am

Glyn - @Derek…Thanks for commenting mate :) Great to ‘hear’ the technique has come in hands on occasion; cheers.

September 26, 2010 - 8:56 pm

Derek Anson - cool. I’m 99% an available light shooter but have used this technique a few times. Really effective as you can see from the examples provided.

August 8, 2010 - 6:44 pm

Glyn - Lloyd…Thank you so much for dropping by and for your kind words; I really do appreciate it mate.
Re the black backdrop tutorial, do you have a link to the results you achieved? Id love to see them :)

Cheers, and thanks again,
Glyn

August 7, 2010 - 5:37 pm

Lloyd - Glyn,

I discovered your website from reading the photopro magazine yesterday and have been unable to draw my eyes away from your website and blog. Your work is fantastic and great to see some helpful hints and tips following the strobist way of photography. Great tutorial here which I tried out at a wedding today, great results!

Thanks again,

Lloyd

August 2, 2010 - 5:19 pm

Cause I don't wanna get over you. | San Francisco Photographer | Paul Pratt - [...] that would have been just the final straw. The first shot here is simply completely killed ambient. It’s really simple to do on location with one light (except, ahem…this is a two light shot) and it’s fast to [...]

August 2, 2010 - 5:16 pm

Ajay Filipe | San Francisco Photographer | Paul Pratt - [...] This first shot was taken in the biggest farmyard barn I have ever been in, thankfully it also had power so we could use big lights rather than our little battery powered flashes. This was shot with an Alien Bee B800 in a soft box at some sort of power setting that really isn’t relevant. Every time I shoot I use this technique, big thanks to Glyn Dewis for the virtual lesson! [...]

June 14, 2010 - 3:18 am

Project « FotoPapa - [...] Filed under: Asal — soele @ 2:16 am BW in slow speed -> linkBlack backdrops -> linkSunrise with wide angle n slowspeedSunrise with -2stop + foreground lightedFoto jeruk pake soda [...]

June 14, 2010 - 1:57 am

Project « FotoPapa - [...] Filed under: Asal — soele @ 12:56 am BW in slow speed -> linkBlack backdrops -> linkSunrise with wide angleSunrise with -2stop + foreground with [...]

May 29, 2010 - 10:03 am

Photo Shoot and Technique: Random Photos » Glyn Dewis Blog - [...] This series of shots were taken outdoors at around 7.30 in the evening using my Invisible Black Backdrop Technique. [...]

May 16, 2010 - 7:36 pm

Meet Bob.. » Zooming-Feet by Scot Baston - [...] example of my efforts to replicate and understand Glyn Dewis‘ blog entry on the ‘Invisible Black Background‘ technique which I would heartily recommend. One of the benefits of having a [...]

May 11, 2010 - 10:13 am

Glyn - @Dave Kelly…Dave thank you so much for such helpful comments. One thing I am doing is preparing a ‘workbook’ which delegates can take away with them to go through in their own time what we covered during the workshop, but the idea of having ‘recipe cards’ I really like. I’ll definitely look at putting those together because I can see as you say how useful they could be.

Post Production techniques that I use day to day will also be covered during the day too on a large screen; using Photoshop and Lightroom so if there’s anything you think would be useful to cover other than how I get my end results then that too would be great.

David, thanks yet again; it’s this kind of interaction through the blog that’s going to really help.
All the best to you,
Glyn

May 10, 2010 - 8:38 pm

David Kelly - Glyn, geez isn’t it simple when you know how! Despite understanding / knowing the science behind this Glynn, I’d never tried this something like this. I guess this is the difference between knowledge & understanding alone vs an appreciation of the application of that knowledge. One of those DOH! moments, I suppose.
Further to my recipe comments in your post today (10th May) following the workshop tester, I think your summary bullets here are an example of the exact thing I was trying to get across. Listed above you’ve got these few ingredients (shutter speed, aperture, ISO etc) which when added together by following the recipe steps give you the end product of the images you’ve achieved. (Well you might want a little PostP to give it the icing on the cake).
Now just need to get a reflective brolly….

Thanks,
David

May 10, 2010 - 10:59 am

Portrait Workshop & Sample Photos » Glyn Dewis Blog - [...] I’ll post up more images here on the blog in the next few days, but incidentally the images included in this post were all taken outdoors in the exact same spot as the Group photograph using my Invisible Black Backdrop technique. [...]

April 29, 2010 - 10:52 am

Photo Shoot & Technique: Using Natural & Off Camera Lighting » Glyn Dewis Blog - [...] With regards to the photo shoot with Cameron, always looking to make the most of a location before moving on I did then bring out some ‘off camera’ lighting. For this shot I used a single Nikon SB800 Speedlight fired into a 60″ Reflective Umbrella with Cameron facing directly towards it. To restrict how much light fell onto Cameron and onto the surrounding walls, I used a trusty clothes peg to hold the umbrella just slightly open. (I talk more about this ‘closed down umbrella’ technique in my ‘Invisible Black Backdrop Tutorial’) [...]

April 12, 2010 - 2:16 am

Cold builds character! | San Francisco Photographer | Paul Pratt - [...] to wrap up the morning we stripped him back down again and used Glyn Dewis’ Invisible Black Backdrop Technique to produce some nice images of Jeff’s impressive [...]

March 24, 2010 - 5:47 pm

Glyn - Hi Cheryl,
Thanks for that ;o)

March 24, 2010 - 12:40 pm

cheryl - thank you so much for sharing this info.. very very cool.
thank you.

March 22, 2010 - 7:25 am

Photo Shoot & Technique: Danny Bartlett » Glyn Dewis Blog - [...] Technique 3: For all of the shots where Danny was seated on a stool wearing the trilby style hat, just one Nikon SB800 Speedlight and Lastolite Ezybox was used. The Ezybox was positioned to the front of Danny in the direction Danny he was facing on a light stand, and the bottom of it was roughly level with his nose. A really simple shot this one and again Danny was roughly 6ft away from the white background which accounts for it being turned to a dark grey. This shot could have quite easily been made using one of my trusty umbrellas and the only reason it wasn’t was because the Ezybox was already set up from the earlier shots. There’s no problem controlling the direction of light coming out from an umbrella because they can be used ‘closed down’; a technique I describe in the Invisible Black Backdrop Tutorial. [...]

March 2, 2010 - 7:14 am

Glyn - Hi Bernice,

Thanks for the comment; glad you like the blog.

Glyn

March 2, 2010 - 5:22 am

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February 9, 2010 - 10:04 pm

InSight Workshop ‘One2One’ (Tester) » Glyn Dewis - [...] how to bring in some off camera lighting to light the subject. We then moved on to run through my Invisible Black Background Technique firstly outdoors, and then indoors to go through the same technique but also how to deal with the [...]

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