Quick Tip: Black Materials in Close-Up Lenses

Black materials require some extra consideration when you are shooting them with close-up lenses. Sometimes the contrast of your subject matter can be too great to capture the full spectrum of light.

Diffuse the Light

When dealing with close-up shots, it is always important to use a diffuser to soften your light source. Not only will this improve the quality of your photo, but it will also help eliminate some hot spots and dark shadows. This in turn will make the contrast of your subject easier to handle.

Bracket the Shot

Getting detail in the blacks can still be a problem when weighed against getting detail in the whites. So, try bracketing your image. Make sure your tripod is completely locked off and be very careful when you adjust your aperture. Take the shot three times: once at general exposure, once one stop under, and once one stop over. The brightest shot should have crisp and detailed blacks, and one of the other two shots will look good in all but the blacks. Now you can cut and paste the blacks from one shot into the other using Photoshop. 

When shooting black materials, the key is to capture them without losing the other elements. These tricks will help achieve such a balance.

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