Backgrounds place the subject into the perspective of its surrounding. However most of the time the attention of the photographer is mainly on the subject. But the slightest margin for error can result in a funny shot, wasted film or a moment lost forever. Let’s see how we can make the background better.
Choosing the background
Backgrounds are used to place the subject into perspective. Backgrounds also help create the mood and feel in the photograph. Ideally backgrounds should assist in highlighting the subject of the photograph. They should thus be simple, minimalistic and undistracting.
Background as a secondary subject
How many times have you stood to be photographed against the leaning tower of Pisa? Backgrounds are often used as secondary subjects especially in travel photography to frame them into memories. Several points here:
- Make sure that the subject does not obscure the background.
- Ensure that the subject and the background are in focus. Use a small aperture to extend the depth of field and keep the subject and the background in sharp focus.
- Backgrounds may affect the camera metering. A judicious use of flash and the various metering modes in the camera will give you the best results.
Subject versus the background
When the main highlight in the scene is the subject, the last thing you want is the background fighting for attention. Again depth-of-field comes into play. Use maximum aperture to reduce the depth-of-field. This will blur the background and soften it while keeping the subject in sharp focus.
When background is a concern almost all photographers invest in a (make-shift) studio setup. This gives you complete control over the backgrounds and also on lighting, composition and privacy. A studio allows a lot of flexibility in photographing your subjects.
Paying attention to the background as much as the subject makes a huge difference. After all attention to detail is what differentiates a photographer from just another photographer.
Photo by AHMED…