In February I usually kick into craft mode. Some years I’ve had the pleasure of putting together Star of the Week posters, but most years I’m usually working on my special Valentines I do for both kids. Most projects like these usually start off with a photo shoot. Keep reading to see this photo shoot with my son dressed as Darth Vader and see how to get a black background in Photoshop.
My kids love to do photo shoots in costumes. You can see in my last Star of the Week poster, my son was featured as Captain America. Our Valentine’s have featured Cat Woman, Batman, a Cheetah, a Whale Shark, Rey, and Finn. This year my son decided to be Darth Vader and I plan to use these pictures for both his poster and his Valentine.
HOW TO GET A BLACK BACKGROUND IN PHOTOSHOP
STEP ONE: SHOOT THE PHOTO
Depending on the costume or concept we choose, I’ll choose a background. I really pretty much stick to white or black. My backgrounds fit on a stand, but I have some hooks on the wall and I just prefer to hang them up on the wall. You can see more about that in my post about the photography equipment I use. For Darth Vader, I picked black, of course.
I also used my one light set up with my flash on a stand set to the side. My kid is a natural when it comes to wielding a light saber, so I pretty much just let him do his thing and I clicked away. The whole session took about ten minutes.
Here are a few of my favorites straight out of camera before I did any editing.
STEP TWO: EDIT THE PHOTO IN LIGHTROOM
As you can see, my background is not very big and it’s pretty wrinkled. To edit these photos, I started in Lightroom. I did my cropping and usual edits to White Balance, Exposure and anything else I thought it needed. Then, I took the photos to Photoshop.
STEP THREE: EDIT IN PHOTOSHOP
To fix the background issue, I added a solid black layer over the photo and reduced it’s opacity so that I could see Darth Vader underneath. I then used a soft brush on the layer mask to erase the layer from Darth Vader. After cleaning up my lines, I increased the opacity of that solid layer to the point where I was happy. Here are my results.
- ADD SOLID BLACK LAYER
- REDUCE OPACITY
- ADD LAYER MASK TO SOLID BLACK LAYER
- BRUSH OFF THE LAYER MASK ON TOP OF DARTH VADER
- CLEAN UP LINES
- INCREASE OPACITY OF SOLID BLACK LAYER
No more wrinkled backgroud! This is a really easy way to get the look you are wanting if you are wanting a solid color background. Now that I know this trick, I don’t worry so much about making sure I shoot only the background. I can zoom out and know that I can fix it when I am off the background or get a great shot with my light switch on the side or my rug at the bottom.
In case you are curious, my settings on these photos were ISO of 1,000, f/5.6, and 1/100 sec. My flash was set at -2.0EV.