Product shot on black

Image by Alex Koloskov

By Andrew Hudson Published: July 25, 2011 Updated: September 1, 2015

By Andrew Hudson Published: July 25, 2011 Updated: September 1, 2015

Alex Koloskov has a great step-by-step article at Photography School showing how to take a studio product shot using a black background.

For the glossy black table, Alex used glass, painted with black on the other side. For the background, he used a black foamcore board positioned 6 feet (2 meters) behind and a hidden light with a blue gel. The product was lit with white lights on each side and one on top, and Alex used black flags (boards) to remove light from where it wasn’t wanted. Subtle gradients were added with smaller lights flagged (blocked) to make narrow slivers of light.

Exposure is difficult for a phone screen since the product provides low-intensity light whereas the studio lighting is high-intensity. Alex’s clever solution was to take almost a double exposure (a rear-curtain sync). He turned off all the studio lights and photographed the phone screen in darkness for eight seconds, then, before the shutter closed, he added the strobe lighting for 1/1000th of a second to add the background. Hey presto, a beautiful image.

Alex Koloskov offers more step-by-step tips at his blog:

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