Elja Trum

Portrait with a dark background

friday 15 January 2016, 11:11 by | 2118 times read | 0 comments

Lately I have been seeing more and more portraits with a dark background. Understandable, because it looks pretty decent. Reason enough to try it myself. In this article you'll read how I created this portrait.


For this image I used a black paper roll as a background. You could even turn a white background to black if the difference in lighting between your background and your model is great enough. But a black background as a starting point makes things easier.

Because I didn't want a completely black background, but a gradient one, I aimed a flashlight at the background. This flash was positioned right behind the model. It was set to a low power.

I lite Michael using a strip softbox. This does not necessarily have to be a strip, but coincidently I had it ready and it does account for nicely aimed lighting. To prevent the left side from turning dark completely, I used a reflection screen on the left side.

Lighting setup mike on black


I only made minor adjustment to the photo afterwards. I fixed some unevenness in Michael's skin and I made his blouse a little darker on the right side. This is because it drew a little too much attention because the light of the strip was close to it.

By darkening the blouse on the right side a little it doesn't draw attention away from Michael's face.

Elja Trum

About the author

Elja Trum is founder of Photofacts and author of a Dutch book on black-and-white photography. In his daily life he is an e-business consultant with Directshop.
Elja uses Twitter, is married and father of Mika and Vera.


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Elja Trum

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