Black Backgrounds

There is a balance between aperture and shutter speed to create a black background. It is easier to create a dark background with less ambient light but you have to get your strobe angles right to avoid creating a snowstorm of backscatter.

When I spot a subject I make my judgement as to the image I want to create before I approach. Look at angles, possible backgrounds and accessibility. I will regularly take a test shot or two of a similar coloured static subject, e.g. a sponge in a similar position making sure my settings and lighting angles are as good as possible. This will give me the freedom to concentrate on composition. You may only get one single chance, so cutting those odds makes sense.

• With macro I may use two strobes, close to and either side of the lens port, angled outwards in order to create a soft shadowless ring type flash around the port.

• With wide angle I extend my flash arms, angling them outward and adjusting them around the housing to suit the subject and image I wish to create.

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