How to Choose the Perfect Photography Background
When you’re taking a portrait photograph, the background you choose can often be as important as the subject of your image. The right setting can create a stunning image, where the foreground is perfectly complemented by what’s behind it. However, the inverse is also true. An overly busy backdrop can be distracting, clash with the subject, or remove the emphasis from the model. In this article, we look at some of the top tips for picking the perfect background for your shots. We’ll give details on what kinds of settings to choose and which to avoid.
Choosing the Right Background: Top Tips
Your aim with selecting the right backdrop for your photos is to make sure the subject or model really stands out. Below are six tips that can help do exactly that.
1. Keep it Simple
A plain background that is uncluttered can help to make your subject the focal point of an image. Such a simple setting can be incredibly effective at highlighting interesting features on your model. However, ensure that there is some integration between the backdrop and foreground.
2. Integrate Colours
One way of creating cohesion in your images is to use contrasting or complementary colours between your subject and what’s behind them. Doing so can create a well-composed image that accentuates certain elements. A flash of brightness can often be a welcome touch, but plain contrasting colours can also work.
3. Use Soft Background Blur
Using a blurred background, an effect known as bokeh, can draw the eye to your subject. The contrast between the soft blur and the sharp focus is a sought-after effect that can be achieved by using wider apertures. Although the backdrop will be out of focus, viewers should still be able to get a sense of what’s behind the model.
4. Choose a Theme
Ideally, you want your photos to tell a story or portray an emotion. Using a theme to tie your compositions together can go a long way to achieving this. For example, a busy street can create a sense of urgency and business, while natural settings can be a lot calmer. Consider the mood you want to capture and choose a location accordingly.
5. Use Foreground Framing
Your subject doesn’t always have to be at the centre of the frame and directly in the forefront. There are many framing techniques you can use instead. One such example is foreground framing, where elements at the front of the picture frame the subject in the background.
6. Avoid Distracting Backgrounds
A setting that has too much going on can really detract from the subject. Busy environments with complex shapes or objects that appear to come out of the model’s head should be avoided. If you don’t have the luxury of choice, fill the frame with the subject instead. This can also be done in post-processing.
That concludes our list of tips for choosing the right background. However, one final bonus tip is to use a roll of plain coloured paper or white/grey cardboard behind your subject to create a studio portrait feel.