Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Camera Tip: Faking a black background

Post 200!

I wanted to take a picture for yesterday's letter H (Heart) with a black background. But I don't have one. The lighting in my house at night (since I can usually only take photos after work) also really stinks. So to fix both at once I used a mirror. But that's not black, right? It is if you use only tea lights for lighting since they don't really reach the ceiling.

So here's my setup. After I had the candles lit I turned off the lights in the room so the ceiling would be black.

But after I took the first couple of pictures, I realized I wasn't creating enough light with the tea lights and so I had to make a really long exposure (which is a little tricky while hand holding the camera) Really simply solved by moving the tea lights closer. When I lined up the shot I wanted I could see which lights (those on the right in this case) had to be moved back a bit. Just be careful not to light your sleeve or camera strap on fire since you are in so close. :)

And, no, the mirror is not perfectly spotless. I did clean it off with Windex but the paper towel didn't do an exact job. Also, there were a couple of tiny smear spots. If you move just a teeny bit to one side those will often disappear though so it doesn't matter too much to have it perfect. I lightened up the first image to show you the truth of how many spots are actually on the mirror.


  1. OMG you are the cleverest picture faker in the world and I am blessed to be in your (cyber)presence!!!! this is too awesome!!!!!

  2. Thanks for sharing. I stared at this photo for longer than I'd like to admit wondering how on earth you did it. I never would have guessed. My favorite part is the fantastic dimension in the heart. A mirror, genius!

  3. Very inventive, and a beautiful picture!

  4. Rockin' technique Girl! You know how I love 'heart' photos!


  5. So cute, so clever.Happy Valentine's.XXX

  6. wow. you are totally my hero! I had no idea I could learn so much from you! You totally rock :)


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