Darkish and moody nonetheless life images

This week I’m going to discover MY signature fashion — darkish and moody still-life images. It was my old flame with nonetheless life and to be trustworthy … it nonetheless is. It’s what I’m identified for and I normally find yourself instructing in my Workshops, as is requested so typically.

So, let’s get slightly darkish and moody …

The essence of darkish and moody is within the particulars, but in addition the deep shadows and saturated coloration. As a rule I have a tendency so as to add a pop of pink with some chocolate browns, however blues and yellows work effectively too. Think about your backdrops, props and equipment … darkish, matte and textured will improve the moody really feel, think about darkish wooden furnishings or painted canvas for a backdrop. I personally love a great rustic timber crate.

Select the primary topic (or hero) that’s maybe lighter in coloration and tone and even barely reflective … one thing that may stand out among the many darkish, or maybe attempt a pop of coloration?

Suppose uncooked, rustic, weathered, worn, natural and dramatic when styling your scene. It doesn’t need to be nation or rustic — it might be clear and fashionable too.


Mild is at all times essential, and I like to make use of a single-side gentle supply. I normally place a desk subsequent to a window for some oblique solar and block/soak up the sunshine across the scene utilizing a black gentle blocker or darkish cloth [see BTS image]. I like deep shadows and never an excessive amount of direct gentle.

In case you are nonetheless getting an excessive amount of gentle you should use extra black foam core boards to dam gentle right down to a tiny slither.

Matte, natural textiles additionally soak up the sunshine and improve the shadows. Experiment with this. I believe the magic occurs when your topic appears to face out from the background. You may discover inserting your setup simply on the sting of the sidelight works very well. It’s all about experimenting.

Digicam settings

If capturing with a DSLR attempt spot metering, your digicam will see your scene as too darkish and attempt to make every little thing lighter. You don’t wish to lighten your scene, you need it darkish. So you might have to underexpose your pictures to get the specified consequence, not an excessive amount of, attempt one or two stops underexposed. You will want to set your digicam to guide mode to attain this. Set your ISO to 100, as you’ll probably have your digicam on a tripod anyway. Set your required f-stop — for this sort of picture I’d say an f/4.5 to f/5.6 after which barely underexpose your picture.

How a lot you wish to underexpose it’s completely as much as you. You possibly can go so darkish you possibly can barely see the topic and simply the perimeters and spotlight (fairly dramatic), or one thing slightly lighter, however with flat gentle and deep shadows.

TIP: That is the place capturing in RAW somewhat than JPEG, is preferable, as this permits room to rescue any areas which will have been over or underexposed in Lightroom or Photoshop (or related).

Experiment in post-processing. Enhancing and deepening the shadows and decreasing highlights. Play with saturation and vibrancy. Add distinction, make your shadows deep and any coloration pop!

The problem …

In addition to utilizing a darkish backdrop, experiment with crates, baskets, open cabinets, or the nook of a window in deep shade … place an fascinating topic in your ‘area’ and make slightly darkish and moody magic. In case you are feeling overwhelmed and this one will be tough to get proper, begin easy, it’s higher to get a really feel for this topic than overwhelm the subject material. One single flower, cupcake, pear or apple is best to begin with and may typically be VERY efficient.

All pictures have been photographed utilizing the Sony a7ii with 50mm prime lens, ISO 400, f/3.5, 1/100s.