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Darth Vader Photoshoot: How to Get a Black Background in Photoshop

It’s almost February and that’s when I kick into craft mode.  Right now I am getting ready to put together another Star of the Week poster for my kindergartener and my special Valentines for both kiddos.  Both of these projects usually start off with a photoshoot.

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.  Both projects I will be posting soon.

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. DSC_3880DSC_3945DSC_3974

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 and anything else I thought it needed.  Then I took the photos to 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.


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.

Check out these photos coming soon to a Star of the Week poster and Valentine card.

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