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Sometimes setting up a backdrop can be a hassle, with this technique you get the same look without the extra work!


Believe it or not, most of these images were taken outside in the middle of the day! Using a technique called SQIBB, taught to me by Caryn Esplin, I was able to get an incredible black background without a backdrop. SQIBB stands for studio-quality invisible black background. With a little trial and error, this technique is very achievable and can create an awesome look, especially for product photography. First, you will need to sync your flash and trigger. Then you will want to use a light modifier, such as a flash bender and snoot it. “Snooting” is when you wrap the flash bender around the light sort of like a cone. Make sure you have a low Iso, fast shutter, and narrow shutter. Point your flash towards your subject and experiment with the power of the flash until you get the look you are looking for. With a little time and practice, you will be creating some magical invisible black backgrounds, just using a few simple tools. One thing that I found to really add some interest to this image to the right was adding a prop and shooting on a textured surface. Even a simple plant or greenery can add a lot of interest to an image. The marble-like texture

Aiming your flash to create a “sparkle” on metallic or glass objects can also be a great technique for adding a little flare to your photo. You can see that I the image to the left, that shimmer pops even more because of the studio-quality background.

Lighting larger areas with a “snooted” flash bender can be a little more difficult. So, to get a similar look with a portrait, I  added an LED bar light off to the side. I also widened the flash bender and angled it upwards so that the light was a bit softer on her face. In post, I had to darken a few of the edges because I was indoors and the light reflected off the wall behind her. To learn more about techniques like this check out this post by Digital Camera World. Click here to view the post.