The secret of darkness

The shot I showed you the other day had a darkish background.

How dark? It was my usual “two stops below normal”. I.e. when I look at the scene, my light meter indicates not “0”, but “–2”.

Today: what happens when you make the background even darker. Like, four stops below normal. I.e. I use an aperture even smaller (I still of course use 100 ISO and 1/250th second).

Now we get a very dramatic portrait:

Which one is right? That is an impossible question to answer. It depends on what you want. On your style. On the picture and its purpose. There is no one “correct” photo. What you need to learn is the techniques to do all this. Then you can make up your mind for each photo you make.

One thing to keep in mind: the lower picture used such a small aperture that the flash had to be sued without a modifier: else it would not have had enough power. If you take my Flash course I will teach you a trick you can use to always know when you have enough power–or not.






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