How to Create a Black Background for Your Photos

Think you need a studio to get studio-style photos? Think again. 

In this quick article, the Macphun team will teach you how to bring all the attention to your beautiful subject with a few simple techniques — helping you to create perfectly lit black backgrounds.

Using Natural Light

If you don't have a flash, no problem! One great way to create a black background is by using the natural daylight filtering in from a window. All you need to do this, is your camera and a black bed sheet, curtain or large piece of fabric. 

First , find a way to hang the black sheet where your subject will be, allowing the window’s light to filter onto them. You can either hang the sheet on a wall using small nails or thumbtacks or (depending on the size of your subject and the way you plan to setup the shot), you can easily drape the black sheet over two chairs, stools, or pieces of furniture, too. 

If you are planning to photograph still life shots or food, for example, you can even simply use a black poster board for your background — using clamps, a wall, or furniture to brace the board. 

Yes — it really is that simple!

Using A Flash

If you plan to use a flash, this will give you the ability to create that black background look anywhere you go. 

First, have your camera and flash set to manual mode. Set your ISO low, around 100 or 200, and set your shutter speed fast, around 1/200 or 1/250, to be in sync with your flash. 

You may have to play with the aperture setting a bit, depending on your scene. Start at f5.6 and adjust until you get the black background you are looking for. Next, experiment with your lighting — move your flash around, dial it up or down to create the mood of your subject. 

Note: if it’s a bright day, you may need to use multiple strobes. 

Using Luminar

If you want to create a black background in post-production with Luminar, you can do this by creating a Custom Texture layer with a black background file. 

First, set the opacity of the Texture layer low so you can see your subject in the photo, then use the Editing Brush Eraser to erase the Texture layer off your subject. Next, bring the black background Texture layer to highest opacity. You can fine-tune from there by adjusting the settings of your Brush Eraser to make sure all edges are clean around your subject. 

Our hope is that this short article has given you some lasting inspiration. Remember, you don’t have to have a studio to get those studio shots you desire. 

As always, have fun and be willing to experiment to find what works best for you and your photo taking needs.

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