Here are a few examples of low-key photography, a technique that can add atmosphere to a portrait or give a new perspective to a product.
To achieve this striking effect you don't need a fancy studio or a large black sheet, in fact all these shots have been taken during the day with the curtains wide open.
The black background is achieved by dialing down the aperture until the whole scene turns black, an off camera flash is then introduced to illuminate the subject from one side.
Thanks to John for letting me post his photo! John can be found at H.M.Graphics in Leamington Spa, check out his almost daily "Artist Birthday" posts on Facebook www.facebook.com/HMGraphicsLeamingtonSpa.