Product Photography: When bright and dark things are in the same picture a camera can’t make both look good. Here is how you can use daylight to make your backgrounds look pitch-black.
Set up in a place where daylight is blocked making one side of what you are photographing look very dark. I took this picture at the edge of a covered terrace. The entrance to a garage, a doorway, a window will work well too.
Reflect light to brighten the dark side. Put one card at a time, try different angles and look at what difference it makes. The closer you put the card to what you are photographing the brighter it will get. I used two cards in this picture but sometimes using one looks better.
The aluminum foil helps put light on the dress but the background still is a lot brighter. The camera will try to make a good picture of everything is has in front - we want a good exposure for the dress only.
Start taking lighter pictures until you get one that makes the dress look good…
… and then the background will become very light.
To make a dark background turn the mannequin around. Now you have light on the mannequin and not much light in the background. Yin-Yang!
Dress: a loan by Rocka in Santiago, Chile.
The amount of light on the dress and the background is too uneven for the camera to handle. Take a picture that makes the dress look good and the background will become dark!
I used the aluminum cards to make the sequence dress look shiny. The thing you are photographing may not need cards at all.
The Aluminum Cards:
To make the cards I flattened a cardboard box and glued the inside to make it stay closed. I then glued layers of these flatten boxes to make them rigid. They feel like they might stop a bullet!
More information on how to make an aluminum card?
Using a $6 photography lightbox.
I am an advertising photographer living in NYC. My pictures help large companies sell more and to keep their brands looking fresh. I am also the founder of Via U! , an online studio dedicated to assisting artists selling in Etsy increase their sales too.