Creating Dark Images.
To create a successful, ‘dark and moody’ image you need a layered approach. First, you need to really control the light coming into the scene, in my set up image below, I have blocked out light with a black screen and almost covered the entire window except for the bottom part, to really direct a shaft of light on to the top of the pie.
You also need to use appropriate props. My props are dark, the table cloth is black and I’ve used wooden handled cutlery to really lessen any extra shine.
I however still want correct exposure, albeit I slightly underexposed, I didn’t just take a really dark image. I focused on the top of the pie and underexposed by 1/3 of a stop. You can see my straight out of camera image below on the left (this is a screen shot of the RAW file unedited)
The next step to creating a beautiful dark and moody image is to edit. This requires far more editing than I like to do on a regular basis, but it’s really necessary to bring out the details and create that beautiful contrast of dark and light. Pulling down the shadows and blacks (and bringing up the whites) gives such depth and darkness to the rest of the image whilst still maintaining detail in the shadow. I really want there to be texture in those parts not just pure black.
This is something that, if you like the look of dark atmospheric images you should set aside half a day to play around with your set up and then finishing the image by editing.