I'm a mere beginner like you, especially compared to Coop and some of the other guys. But here's something you can fix easy and fast:
There's a reflection (of the photographer?) on the dark blade. A quick fix is to strategically hold a piece of white board in the blade's reflection. I shoot with a tripod and timer or remote, so I simply hold the board in my hand tilted and positioned so that the knife blade is reflecting the board. Even a piece of plain notebook paper can work.
Not my best picture, but a good example. These blades are very shiny and, if given the chance, would reflect a flyspeck on the opposite wall.
I definitely need more practice with the lighting and exposure though.