Day 39 – Dark Backgrounds

I have been busy, a lovely run, time with family and I have just realised that I have not yet used my camera today – so with a choice between “top gear” and “call the midwife” on TV, I headed to the kitchen, got out my flash and tried to get my backgrounds dark in a lit room….

Camera Settings – starting point… which I got from here – the invisible backdrop

  • MANUAL MODE
  • OWEST ‘ISO’ (200 or lower)
  • MAXIMUM SYNC SPEED (1/250th sec, 1/200th sec etc)
  • SELECT AN APERTURE (ie f/5.6 as a starting point)
  • BRING IN THE FLASH

This was my original idea … could I make the background dark and less distracting….

ISO100, 1/200sec F4.5 - no flash
ISO100, 1/200 sec F4.5 – no flash

By first taking a photo in maual mode and getting the background completely darker – this can be done be increasing the F number until the background is dark – a smaller aperture, then adding my flash – off camera, pointing away from the beer with an umbrella reflector (partly closed) – I managed to achieve this … the shot could be improved by adding more flash for different angles… but I only had one available!

ISO 100, F20, 1.250 sec with off camera flash
ISO 100, F20, 1.250 sec with off camera flash

I then thought would would happen if I included the whole kitchen, with the spot lights on in the ceiling… could I make them and the washing up disappear … with no one to help – I had to rely on focusing from a distance with my camera remote… so for the first time in this blog… you get to meet me … SELFIE time 🙂

1st attempt, you can see me, the floor, the lights, the camera release… time for some out of the box thinking….

ISO 100, F18, 1/250 sec with off camera flash
ISO 100, F18, 1/250 sec with off camera flash

2nd attempt, camera timer – so I solved the issue of the remote cable, but with a busy background there are still reflections of household objects, my jumper soaks up the flash light and I am realising I am uncomfortable taking photos of me… you can see my nose 🙂

ISO 100, F18, 1/250 sec with off camera flash
ISO 100, F18, 1/250 sec with off camera flash

Where to look – at the camera, at the flash or somewhere else? Photos that do well of portraits have the person in the image looking directly into the camera, so that together you can build a relationship up… I need more catch light and the right hand side of my face is in more shadow than my left but this is defiantly the look I was aiming for. Although I really should edit this picture so you can’t see the kitchen tap!

ISO 100, F18, 1/250 sec with off camera flash
ISO 100, F18, 1/250 sec with off camera flash

Time to swat up… what is next … I feel unnatural as a model, so I gave myself something to do – a book to focus on…  no catch light but the flash lights the top of the book and bounces or acts as a reflector and bounces the light back into my face ….  I am really quite pleased with this one … and it is hard to believe that the kitchen lights are on… although it does seem to have disappeared, although I think more practice required!

ISO 100, F18, 1/250 sec with off camera flash
ISO 100, F18, 1/250 sec with off camera flash
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