Learn How I Edit My Black Background Images!

As a photographer you have the ability to be as creative as you want when taking and post processing your images. That is how you create your style and how people can recognize your work in a crowd of other images from other photographers. The way I edit, specifically, my black background images is very artsy, bold and eye catching. I enjoy applying my creative side to a photo and tastefully bringing out every detail which creates a painted effect.


The picture taking process is just as important as the post processing. I use a dark isle way making sure all light and doors behind the horse are turned off and shut. I then place the horse at the threshold of the barn doorway and choose a doorway that does not have harsh sunlight beaming into the alley way. This is the best possible location and setting to execute this look. When I am ready to take the shot I expose for the horse using my exposure meter which will automatically darken the background. I tend to sometimes under expose a stop or two so that I am keeping that background as dark as possible for easier editing later. My aperture stays between f2.5 and f4 depending on what lighting I'm working with that day. I adjust my shutter speed at the highest I can which is usually around 1/500-1/700 and I try to keep my ISO below 400.


Step One - I open my image in Photoshop and in camera raw I adjust brightness contrast and white balance as needed to my subject. I want to make sure the horse has a good amount of contrast.

Step Two - I go in and use my patch tool to remove any blemishes or any other distracting marks such as eye boogers. I will also remove any leads, reins and also clean up the floor in this step as well.

Step Three- I duplicate my layer and begin selecting my horse using the quick selection tool getting as precise as I can. I will not use select and mask.

Step Four - After everything is selected I will click the "create a mask" icon. This separates the horse from the background. I then add a solid black color layer below the masked horse layer and click on the layer mask. If the image is of the full horse I use my gradient tool and make a line from the bottom of the image up to a little passed the hooves which creates a nice even transition from the floor to black.