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Old Jul 29, 2013, 1:31 PM   #1
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Default Black background help

Hi. Recently bought an nex 3n and love it. Already experimenting with its settings. I want to photograph my subject with a black background using just the built in flash. I don't want to use a black backdrop, just the flash and playing with the manual settings.
Based on what i've read, i have to use manual mode, use flash (of course), and use shutter speeds from 1/160 and faster. My problem is, with the flash off, i can increase the speed up to more than 1/1000 but image darkens. Once i turn the flash on, the shutter speed is limited to 1/160. What can i do? Thanks in advance.
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Old Jul 29, 2013, 2:30 PM   #2
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Having a black background while using flash isn't achieved by a magic setting. You're going to need a fairly sizable distance between your subject and the background otherwise the flash will illuminate the background as well as your subject. In reality, it will be EXCEEDINGLY difficult to get a perfectly dark background without a backdrop as there are often floors/ceilings/walls or something that will reflect some of the light from your flash. So, please describe the shooting situation in more detail.
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Old Jul 30, 2013, 8:24 AM   #3
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Thanks for your reply. Unfortunately im at work and can't find the links. I'll post them later. Thanks again...
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Old Jul 30, 2013, 1:28 PM   #4
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If you're going to use flash to illuminate your subject, the background must be quite a distance away for it to not also be illuminated. You could do it outdoors at night (possibly using the NEX-3N's Night Portrait setting), but for indoors you'll definitely need a black backdrop.
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Old Jul 30, 2013, 4:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noypi View Post
Based on what i've read, i have to use manual mode, use flash (of course), and use shutter speeds from 1/160 and faster. My problem is, with the flash off, i can increase the speed up to more than 1/1000 but image darkens. Once i turn the flash on, the shutter speed is limited to 1/160. What can i do? Thanks in advance.
You're are on the right track by using flash
1. You can increase the background distance like recommended above OR
2. Decrease the distance between your subject and the flash itself (i.e. effectively applying the inverse square law), this will also increase the contrast of the subject the closer the strobe get, but the background can stay fixed (since you can't really move a backwall in a studio...). A soft box works best for this, but since you're using a camera built-in flash try to diffuse the light with some material otherwise the result can be quite harsh!

See here:
http://www.diyphotography.net/light-...eat-sheet-card
http://www.diyphotography.net/the-in...et-myth-basted
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Last edited by NHL; Jul 30, 2013 at 5:08 PM.
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Old Jul 30, 2013, 5:52 PM   #6
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thanks so much for the replies guys.
i experimented by placing the subject nearer with a far background and it WORKED! now i know how to do it. very pleased.
thanks again for all the inputs.
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