There are plenty of cheap and easily available items that you can add to your shots and raise them to a whole new level. In this video from Adorama, photographer Gavin Hoey takes you to his studio to show you how to get three different portrait looks with a single gold background. He uses a $5 gold emergency blanket, so this is a pretty cheap, yet versatile trick to add some sparkle to your portraits.
Today I will discuss the importance of background in photography composition illustrated with some examples of mine.
Part of a larger series covering elements of composition in photography for which you’ll find links at the end of this article.
I taught myself photography in quite a specific order, I navigated / progressed through various urban photography genres:
Graffiti Photography > Urban Landscape Photography > Street Photography
It’s the reason I realised early how important an image’s background really is, allow me to explain:
How would you like to have an infinite number of different backgrounds for your portraits? What if I told you that you can? In fact, it’s very likely that you already have this “infinite background machine” at home? Any ideas what it might be?
If you thought of a TV, you were right. In this video, Joe Edelman will tell you all the benefits of using a TV screen as your backdrop, and he’ll also teach you how to use it to make the most of it.
For those of us born in the 1970s and ’80s, this new phenomenon of mottled, cloudy backdrops appearing in modern portraits is an odd one. You see, back when we were kids, we had horrendously cheesy family and school portraits taken in front of these bizarrely arranged patterns, so to us, it’s pretty weird to see these painted, cloudy backdrops now grace the covers of Vogue and Tatler.
Shooting in a studio has its advantages. But although being warm, dry and convenient are greatly appreciated, shooting between the same four walls can get a little boring if you’re constantly using them as backgrounds for your shots.
Sure you could get some coloured paper setup, you could even buy a fancy canvas sheet with paint splashes on it, and for the really adventurous, you could even use some coloured lights behind your subject. But what happens when you’re finally bored of all that? Time to get a little more creative with your studio backgrounds.
There are several ways to make cutouts in Photoshop, but now there’s a plugin that does it for you in a matter of seconds. Recently launched by remove.bg, this plugin lets you remove background in a single click. It’s free for download, but there are extra perks if you opt for one of the paid versions.
There are different techniques for cutting out a subject from an image and placing it onto a different background. But now there’s a website that does it automatically. On remove.bg you can upload an image, and with a single click and a few seconds’ wait, you’ll have a photo from which the background has been removed. And in most cases, the results aren’t bad at all.
When shooting portraits, the background is one of the things you need to be mindful about. And if you shoot outdoors, you don’t have so much control over it as you do in the studio. In this video, photographer David Bergman will give you a few quick tips for choosing the perfect background and improve your outdoor portraits in an instant.
I have no idea where I first heard this, but it’s extremely true: “the main difference between painting and photography is that the painters need to work hard to put things into their images, whereas photographers have to work hard to take things out of their images.” Painters start with a blank canvas, and every single thing that ends up in the final piece of art is a result of careful craftsmanship, years of hard-earned skill, and raw intention. The photographer’s canvas, on the other hand, is all of the world’s visual chaos, and he or she must deploy an equivalent amount of craftsmanship, skill, and intention to weed out all the fluff.
I believe you already know that “zooming with your feet” and changing the focal length can affect the relationship between your subject and the background. In this short video, you can see the effect of both coming close to the subject and changing the focal length, and how it affects the final look of your image.