Start with a simple black backdrop.
The simplest way to achieve this look is to shoot your subject with a physical black background. Photo studios traditionally have fabric or seamless black backdrop paper on hand. But not everyone has access to a fully stocked photo studio. In that case, see if you can find a room with black wallpaper or a place with dark matte paint.
The way to capture a vivid subject and a rich, dark background is to light the scene the right way. The key is making sure your subject is more lit than your backdrop. If the background is too lit, your camera will pick up on details behind your subject, and you won’t get a flat, black color. “I try to always get a proper exposure of highlights and darks to make sure that I can capture the light on the hair as well as the deep background behind that makes the subject really pop,” says Perkowski. As you work, regularly check your settings and past shots to make sure nothing is too dark or too light.
To get plenty of light on your subject, start with a low f-stop setting. Experiment with everything from 1.4 to 4. If the background isn’t dark enough, you can narrow your lens aperture a bit by raising it to around 6. This limits the light entering the lens, making the background darker. Remember that with low f-stops, you’ll get a shallower depth of field, so make sure your subject is in focus.
Set your camera’s ISO to a low level, from 100 to 125. This decreases the camera’s sensitivity to light, which will darken your photo’s background and remove unwanted texture. Adjust your shutter speed to compensate for these changes. See how a fast shutter works with your aperture. If you underexpose the image, slow the shutter down and place it on a tripod for stability.