Lighting

Shoot Dark Moody Photos Using Just a Box

January 26, 2021

Dark moody photographs can be hard to shoot when you’re first starting out. But we have just the trick for you. Shooting in a box! Yes, you read that right. A box can be the perfect tool to shoot dark moody photos as the walls of the box provide negative fill and block light. This […]

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Dark moody photographs can be hard to shoot when you’re first starting out. But we have just the trick for you. Shooting in a box! Yes, you read that right. A box can be the perfect tool to shoot dark moody photos as the walls of the box provide negative fill and block light. This helps to create that coveted dark and moody image. Here’s a step by step guide on how to achieve this.

dark chocolate with sea salt shot in a box
This image was shot inside a metal box. The walls of the box provide the perfect negative fill to block light.

Step by step guide to shooting dark, moody photos in a box

  • To shoot dark, moody photos, take a box and place some produce inside. We used melted chocolate. A metal or wooden box works great. The sides of the box should be tall enough to block light and help create those shadows. Have a look at the image below for reference.
Dark moody images shot inside a box.
Ensure the box walls are a good height to block light.
  • Place the box near a window or light source.
  • Place a black foam core card on the opposite of the light or window. This will absorb any light reflections and enhance your shadows.
  • Place a second black foam core behind the box to reduce reflections from the walls behind.
Dark moody images shot inside a box.
Place black foam core on three sides of the box to help block and carve the light.
  • Set up your tripod and camera for an aerial shot above the box. If you don’t have a tripod, you can handhold the camera.
  • Press the shutter button and take a few images!
  • To cut down more light and add more drama, place a third negative fill card next to your window, JUST slightly higher then the walls of the box. Move it further and closer to the box and see what this does to your final images.
Dark moody images shot inside a box.
Shooting dark moody images requires just a box and some black foam core boards for negative fill.

And there you have it—shooting dark, moody photos using a box! A simple way to photograph a dark and moody image using just a box and some black foam core. By adding negative fill cards around your box, you’re cutting down the amount of light reaching your for and creating shadows, depth, and contrast to your images. Let us know in the comments below if you try this out. We’d love to see what you come up with.

Once you master the art of blocking light, you’ll go from this image to producing images like the one below where the light is much more controlled.
Dark moody images shot inside a box.
Blocking light will allow you to control your contrast, depth, shadows and highlights.

And if you’d like to get into more detail about mastering and manipulating light, we have a whole module dedicated to this in our upcoming course on mastering food photography! We’ll cover everything you’ll EVER need to know including shooting in manual mode, essentials of lighting, powerful composition techniques, live shoots from start to finish and post production editing techniques. Make sure you’re on our waitlist because we will only open the doors for a very limited time.

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  1. Insaafxo says:

    Wow! this is amazing. I thought dark and moody photos were mostly created in post with editing. I’m looking forward to the lighting course and to try this trick out too!

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