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How to take photos with a black background

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How to take photos with a black background: A friend of yours recently changed his profile photo to one that portrays his face against a black background. You still haven’t figured out how he managed to get such a picture, but you love it and wish you could create something similar! If you want, I’ll tell you the “secret”: most likely, your friend has entrusted himself to a professional photographer, or he could have skillfully used some photo editing software or some settings on his smartphone. In any case, know that you too can be able to take photos with the same style. How? I’ll tell you shortly.

If you give me a few minutes of your free time, I can explain to you in detail how to take photos with black background using a special photographic studio backdrop, adjusting some camera settings or using photo editing. Even if, from what I understand, you do not have a thorough knowledge of photography, you have no reason to fear: following my instructions, you should have no problems in completing your “business”.

So, what are you doing still standing there? Courage: make yourself comfortable, take all the time you need to try the various solutions indicated in the next paragraphs and, more importantly, try to carefully follow the instructions I am about to give you. There is nothing left for me to do but wish you good reading and, above all, have fun!

Taking photos with a black background using a backdrop

The easiest way to make photos with black background is to resort touse of a backdrop, that is a panel, in this case black, to be positioned behind the subject you want to photograph. Making photos with a black background using this aid is really simple and does not require advanced knowledge either in photography or in photo editing.

Photographic backdrops can be found in stores specializing in the sale of photographic material or in online stores, such as Amazon. Usually it is also possible to buy them at less than 50 euros (at least the cheaper ones). Below you can find some that might be right for you.


Neewer – 100% Muslin Foldable Photographic Background, Black, 3 x 6 m

See offer on Amazon


Once you have purchased the black backdrop, all you have to do is mount it following the instructions given in its manufacturer’s instruction booklet (please, make sure that the fabric it is made of is well “ironed” and does not make any creases), and then you have to position the subject in front of it and take the picture with your SLR or with your smartphone. Easier than that ?!

Take pictures with a black background using the flash

If you don’t have a studio backdrop available and you don’t want to buy one, you can take photos with a black background using the flash. To do this, however, you must first create the right conditions to be able to use the technique I am about to show you and then you must know how to use the settings of your camera or smartphone wisely (even if in the latter case it is really difficult to obtain appreciable results. ).

To apply the technique in question, you must first and foremost minimize ambient light of departure. If you are indoors, doing this is not difficult at all: just close the doors and windows and that’s it. If you are outside, however, you must try to shoot in the evening hours, as the sunlight cannot be canceled in any way if it is present.

Once you have created the right environmental conditions to take the shot, position the subject on farther from the background as possible and then get ready to take the picture. Before proceeding, however, make sure that there are no white and / or shiny objects in the background, because when the flash is activated, these would be illuminated and would be visible (unlike the rest of the background, which will remain black), and you should therefore remove them. with some “tweaks” in post-production.

If you are operating from a Reflex, I recommend that you set the value of theISO to a minimum (ex. 100), opening the diaphragm to a rather low value (eg. f/ 8, f/ 11, f/ 16etc.) and the shutter speed at a relatively slow speed (ex. 1/250 or 1/350). Clearly these values ​​are purely indicative: according to the environmental situation in which you are, you can decrease (or, if necessary, increase) the light by one “stop” until you get the desired effect (increasing and decreasing by one stop, means double or halve the light captured by the sensor).

Once you have changed all the appropriate settings and made sure you have activated it I shoot with the flash (you should do it by pressing the button depicting the lighting bolt which is placed on the camera body of your Reflex) you can press the shutter button to capture the subject you have decided to portray (in my case a succulent plant). If you have scrupulously followed the instructions I gave you, you should have obtained a result similar to what you see in the following image. If you find it difficult to use the Reflex, take a look at the in-depth article I linked to you.

Clearly, it is difficult to obtain appreciable results using the camera of a smartphone or a compact, as these devices do not allow you to act on the shooting parameters I mentioned earlier. In any case, no one forbids you to try: after all, groped costs nothing!

Taking photos with a black background in Photoshop

If you want to apply a black background to a photo you’ve already taken, you can resort to using some photo editing software, such as the famous Photoshop. In case you don’t know, I remind you that this is a paid program (the subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan starts from 12.19 euros / month), but you can test all its functions for free for a 7-day trial period, as I have already explained to you in another guide.

The first thing you need to do to make a photo with a black background using Photoshop is to start the program on your computer and then open the photo whose background you want to obscure. Press the button You open… placed in the main window of the program and select the image you want to work on.

At this point, select it magnetic lasso tool from the toolbar on the left: right click on the button lasso tool and, after having recalled the magnetic selection tool, trace the contours of the subject portrayed in the photo trying to be as precise as possible.

At the end of the selection, click on the button Refine Edge (top) and use the adjustment rods that appear on the screen to try to make the selection even more precise. Then right click inside the selection and choose the item Select reverse from the menu that opens, to highlight the background of the photo, which will then turn black.

Now, open the menu Imageselect the items Adjustments> Brightness / Contrast … and, in the window that opens, put the check mark on the box As in previous versionthen lower to minimum (– 100) the value of Brightnessincrease to the maximum (100) the value Contrast and presses the button OK to save the changes made.

As you can see, the background of the photo has turned black. You just have to save the final result you got by selecting the item Save with name from the menu File Photoshop and that’s it. If you want more information on how to use Photoshop and how to darken the background of a photo with Photoshop, read the guide I just linked to you. I’m sure this further reading will also come in handy.

Take photos with black background with iPhone

Do you own a iPhone last generation? if so, you can use effects Theater light or Theater light b / w, which allow you to darken the background of your photos both before and after shooting. The effects in question, introduced with iOS 11 and enhanced with iOS 12, are only available on the following iPhone models: iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS And iPhone XS Max.

To use the functions Theater light or Theater light b / wyou must first open the app Cameraselect the mode Portrait and take the picture by pressing the shutter button in the center of the screen. Then select the photo you want to edit, press the item Editscroll through the various effects available and choose the one you want to use (eg. Theater light or Theater light b / w). As you will notice, the background of the photo will be completely obscured, leaving the subject in color or black and white, depending on the effect chosen.