Recently I happened upon a blog post titled “The Invisible Black Backdrop” and I thought I’d give the technique a try.
The article says that you set your shutter speed to the fastest speed at which your camera and flash will work together then close your aperture one stop at a time until you get a completely black picture. At this point, you bring in your model and light her with a flash at a 45 degree angle. The flash will light your model but miss the background, leaving it black. The author shows several examples of pictures that were taken outside around evening.
As I said, I wanted to give this a try. One problem is that I don’t have an off-camera flash or a way to trigger a flash if I had a stand to mount my flash unit on. Given those limitations, my idea was to try this in my dining room and point the flash at the wall halfway between the camera and the model, bouncing the flash onto her.
The problem with not doing this outside is that, particularly in a relatively small room, the flash continues to bounce around and lights up the whole room, destroying your invisible black backdrop. On the other hand, the shoot wasn’t a total loss; I got at least one good shot of my granddaughter in which she wasn’t lit completely from the front.
I’ll be trying this again, outside, with something to reflect the flash, on an evening when it isn’t raining like crazy.