The top of the pie is beautifully lit, but the rest of the image falls into darkness and shadow

The top of the pie is beautifully lit, but the rest of the image falls into darkness and shadow

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.

 My straight out of camera raw file, a screen shot from Lightroom

My straight out of camera raw file, a screen shot from Lightroom

 Image post editing

Image post editing

 The set up! Looks awful doesn’t it! But you really need to control the light to get this right

The set up! Looks awful doesn’t it! But you really need to control the light to get this right

 The Lightroom edits for the final shot, if you compare this to my usual amount of editing - in the editing lesson - you can see that this is far more dramatic, but the image has far more drama when playing with these huge contrasts of light and dark.

The Lightroom edits for the final shot, if you compare this to my usual amount of editing - in the editing lesson - you can see that this is far more dramatic, but the image has far more drama when playing with these huge contrasts of light and dark.

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.

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