Photograph Something Black On A Black Background
Photograph something black on a black background, is what you do in this project.
Basically the idea is to photograph items of a particular colour against a background of the same colour.
Photographing something black on a black background, or likewise with a different colour sounds a bit ridiculous.
You’re going to finish with a uniformly coloured canvas, but you will, or should, have a normal enough photograph.
For this project I’m going to take a series of photographs to show what I mean.
I’ll start with red and photograph items of that colour, with a red background also.
I’l do the same with blue, green, orange, yellow, purple, white, and off course black items.
Finally I’ll photograph something black on a black background.
This project should be great fun
It’s a lot of fun to assemble and photograph some items, and a background, all of the same colour.
Unless you find a large background, or backgrounds, try to find all or mainly small items.
For this project just look around the house and find items with which you can complete the exercise.
When you start looking for them, it’s amazing the bits and pieces you’re likely to find.
Don’t go to any expense buying props and backgrounds, stick to what you find lying around.
If you develop a liking for this type of photo and want to do more, then you can do so.
You can then look for props and backdrops that you will use for serious photographs
For now make do with what you find easily.
Red items on a red background
The first thing you have to do before taking these photographs is find the correct coloured items.
The second is to find the background, actually it doesn’t matter which you find first.
Red is the colour I’m using in the first photograph in this project.
One item is a red coloured computerised game that been in the house for years.
It’s very close in colour to the background that I’m using for this image.
Next I unearthed a pair of red coloured pencil sharpeners, which are a slightly different shade of red.
I looked for small items because the backgrounds I was using were rather small.
The toy game in particular looked closer to the background colour than it does in the photograph.
A blue background with blue articles
Next colour up was blue and the hunt for some blue items that I needed.
The first blue article I found was a ball point pen, and the second was a small plastic container.
They both looked very close in colour to the background that I was going to use.
While the do look like they would blend in to the background, no they didn’t.
I also found a blue toy that was a very different shade, but very definitely blue.
In the photograph it looks more green than blue, very different to what it actually looked like.
Photographing green things
I had more luck finding little green objects than I had with most other colours.
Most are little plastic bits and pieces plus a crumpled sheet of green tissue paper.
Once again there is far more contrast in the photograph than there seemed to be in reality.
This photograph clearly shows that while the colour has the same name, nothing is blending with the background.
Slight differences in tone look like huge ones in the photo.
Orange ones also
Most of the orange objects that I found look more like the background colour than most of the other colours.
There is one small item that is a very different shade but most are close.
It doesn’t matter about how close the shade is, the objects are clearly visible.
For colour photographs with almost uniform colour it looks O K.
A completely yellow photograph
It’s amazing the little bits of rubbish that I seem to accumulate.
These are mostly little bits of toys that are years old.
Again for a photo where all the elements are of one colour, there’s a lot happening.
There seems to be a big variation in the shade of some things and the background, when there wasn’t.
Next, the purple subjects
This was the most difficult one to assemble of them all.
First I couldn’t find a flat background, and I wasn’t inclined to go shopping for one.
Eventually I found this plastic corrugated thing and decided to use it, it’s different, but did.
I found it difficult to find some small purple(ish) objects as well, but I did find a few.
These were mostly a very different colour purple and it does show in the image.
It does show that you can a varied photograph while sticking to basically only one colour.
Something white photographed on a white background
It also works for white despite the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any real variation of tone.
The items are clearly defined and visible as individual objects.
However the variation in tone and shade in the photo is mostly to do with light and shadow.
There are different shades of white but the difference is minute.
Whether you’re painting a wall or a canvas you’ll discover that there are different shades of white paint available.
Photographing something black on a black background
Before you take a photograph with a digital camera, the camera takes a reading of the light being reflected from the subject.
Digital cameras are programmed to average the exposure to a mid colour.
Therefore when one takes a photo of something black, it’s likely to turn out grey, as it did here.
Normally there’s a range of colours and tones in a subject and the photo is usually fairly accurate.
Sometimes the image is a little too dark, or bright, but not too far off.
You can set the camera to meter from most, some or little of the scene in front of it.
This will make a difference in the accuracy of the meter reading.
In the first of three ‘black’ photos here, it’s very over exposed, and is a clear grey colour.
Fixing the exposure
The way to correct this is to add some exposure compensation, in this case a negative value.
In the second ‘black’ effort I added minus one exposure compensation, and it is darker, but not quite black.
In the third shot I added minus two, and that one is black enough in most places.
Exposure compensation only works in Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Program modes.
If shooting in Manual you have to chose the settings and adjust them until you get it right.
The photographs in this article were just to show that you can photograph something on a similar coloured background.
If you chose with care you can take some good photographs doing this.