Figuring Out When the Light Is Right
Our modern digital cameras are capable to record a very wide dynamic range. Early digital cameras and all film were able to capture a more limited range of tones in a single frame.
Nowadays, we are able to make photos with more detail in the shadows and highlights. Our cameras are beginning to give results comparable to what we see with our eyes.
To be able to perceive when you can achieve a photo with a black background you need to know when the light is right. You need to understand how to see the difference in the light value that is on your subject and your background.
Doing this requires that you ignore some of the detail that you can see, so you begin to see more as your camera does. This is a good skill for any type of photography.
Think about how you will post process your image beforehand. Our cameras are able to record more detail. This means more tweaking in post to get a photo with a real dark background.
The most important thing is to see when the light is right. In a portrait or still life setup, you control the lighting and background. If you prefer natural portrait backgrounds, you can still achieve black backgrounds. We’ll show you how in this article.
To help you see if there will be enough contrast in a scene, squint your eyes and look at the scene. When you squint. you will not see much of the detail in the darker areas. Highlights will stand out more.
By looking at a scene in this way you will have a type of preview of what your photograph can look like. If there is too little contrast in a scene when you are squinting at it this will be more noticeable.