Back to Black Photography for Products

Product Photography Shoes

Black. So much more sensual and exciting than white. It has the power to envelop and reveal. To set a mood of luxury. To allow colour its full impact with so much more drama than white.

Smooth black can caress a surface and allow or deny a glimpse of what is hidden.

However, for a photographer, black can be a double-edged sword. Those dreams of a moody, elegant redering of dark tone can easily turn into the nightmare of product photography that hides important details. 

And in the age of on-line shopping, details must be visible. When two or more black surfaces combine in a product, say with a shoe, it is important that this is made clear. 

The customer will want to see the detailing on the leather and on the bumper strip. But that does not mean that your products need always be shot without character. It means that smart lighting must be used to highlight important areas and details.

Even with a small item like a shoe, lighting separate areas to highlight details is essential. Breaking down a product by deciding how and why lighting is being applied ensures a vision is achieved. This is a bespoke shooting style that produces genuinely individual images packed with drama and appeal. 

These values cannot be achieved by simply shooting all products the same old way in the same old light tent against a white background.

Back in the day, one of my old tutors used to set the photographic challege of producing an image of “a black cat in a coal hole.” Obviously, the excercise could be any black object on a black background, but with the aid of appropriate lighting, students had to demonstrate control.

It is this control, used with vision, that opens the door to go Back to Black.