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9 Tips For A Stunning Portrait Background

The backgrounds play an important role in making or breaking the photographs. Sometimes the backgrounds induce visual distractions and at other times compliment the personality and the character of the person in the photograph. Whatever the case may be, playing with the backgrounds can dramatically alter the mood in a shot. While contextual backgrounds are good at telling the story, adding dramatic or colorful backgrounds can help your subject stand out distinctly. The key for geting the backgrounds right is to thus experiment — experiment with available backgrounds or eliminate the backgrounds. Here are 9 professional tips to flatter your subject with a perfect background.

  1. Crop Out The Distractions

    The person is the main point of interest in the portrait. However background clutter, competing lines and other objects in the frame distracts the viewers’ attention off the main point of interest in the photograph. The best thing to keep the focus on the subject is to thus crop out the possible distractions. Here are three simple tips to keep the distractions off the frame:

    1. Fill the frame with the subject: Get up-close and zoom in to get the tight crops of the subject. This will result in filling the frame with the subject thereby eliminating the distracting background completely.
    2. Remove the distractions: Unclutter the location by probably removing the elements in the background such as furniture or toys. The cleaner looking background tends to be more pleasing and result in professional images too!
    3. Crop the image: While clearing off the distractions before releasing the shutter should be one of the priorities, you can do away with the background clutter by cropping the image in post-processing phase as well. The crop tool comes in handy for getting the tight crops off-camera.
  2. Blur The Background

    While it is not very easy and feasible to eliminate the background clutter, blurring the background is a smart way out for combating the background (or foreground) distractions. Tune your camera to aperture priority mode and go in for wide aperture (low f-number) settings to delibrately throw the background out-of-focus, leaving behind the complimenting hues and seamlessly smooth background.

  3. Embrace The Environment

    Including the surrounding elements and the environment dictates the overall mood of the photograph. Photographing the couple on the beach for instance perfectly compliments the love and romance in the air whilst blackenend backgrounds that render the feeling of loneliness and isolation. So consider including the beach waters, peppy colors, christmas trees in the background to reflect the clebrations and holidaying mood.

  4. Contextual Backgrounds

    Contextual backgrounds add a personal touch to the portraits. When you place your subject in the context of their work environment, unique activity or characteristic location, the image speaks volumes about the persona and personality of the person in the photograph. Such backgrounds weave a mini-story and provides cues about the personal and professional life of the portrait.

  5. Beautiful Sunset In The Background

    This makes space for one more quick and interesting tip, i.e shooting against the beautiful sunset. This gives you an opportunity to embrace the sunset as the naturally beautiful backdrop. At the same time this trick opens up way for getting your hands at silhouette photography to result into the images that convey drama, mystery, emotion and mood by hiding the details of the subject.

  6. Look Up, Look Down — Include The ground

    Change your perspective and change your angle of shooting to utilize the natural backgrounds around you. The textured walls, antique buildings, tree leaves, blue skies, white clouds, golden sands, green grass, etc can be efficiently utilized as perfect portrait backgrounds. Make your subject sit on the ground and shoot from high angle to include grass as the background or take a shot from slightly low angle to include the blue skies as natural backdrops when shooting outdoors. There are lots of portrait background ideas when shooting outdoors — just look around yourself carefully and you are sure to get some real nice, wonderous and amazing backgrounds to perfectly compliment your subject.

  7. Seamlessly Flawless Portraits Against White Background

    White backgrounds come in handy for portraying flawless beauty of the portraits. The secret behind creating ethereal, beautiful and aesthetic images — the white background and a high key lighting set-up goes a long way in creating the images full of light. The high key protraits thus created by utilizing the white backgrounds just look stunningly beautiful.

  8. Place Subjects In Front Of Open Spaces

    Placing the subject in front of open spaces is a good idea for blurring the background. Place your subject in front of a beach or an open field and set the focus on your subject. The camera’s focal length will keep the subject in the sharp focus while throwing far-off stretching field out ot focus (as in the image below).

  9. Professional Backdrops

    Professional backdrops add flair to the photographs. The choice of professional backdrops ranges from buying purpose specific studio backdrops to colored sheets of paper or a simple piece of cloth. The custom backdrops allow you a lot of flexibility and add to the mood of the scene. You can additionally use the colored gels to light up the background wall to your choice of color and thus enjoy colored backgrounds off the white walls.

And now it’s your turn to follow the tips and learn the techniques for photographing the perfect portrait background.

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1 comment… add one
  • ashok gupta May 24, 2012 @ 7:49

    very useful for new & profetionals.

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