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.
Sometimes, you aren’t able to get access to the types of real locations you need in order to photograph somebody. Sometimes the location might have a fee to rent it, there might not be enough time to arrange it, or it may simply be out of bounds. But there are other ways around the problem. Like reconstructing it in your own studio space.
When the background is thrown out of focus, it’s easy to fake all kinds of looks. That’s what Jeff Carpenter of Readylight Media explores in this video, where he creates a fake recording studio out of pegboard and a cardboard box for the background of a client headshot.
If you are into food photography, here is a creative and affordable project you might want to try. Food photographer Joanie Simon shares an idea for making your own backgrounds for food shots. They’re affordable, lightweight, but also versatile: you can use them either as surfaces or backgrounds. Also, making these requires only a few components, yet you can be as creative as you like with colors and textures.
Choosing a backdrop for use in the studio largely comes down to personal preference. I rarely shoot in the studio, so I tend to go with cloth backdrops. For those who do it regularly, though, paper is the optimum choice. In terms of cost and ease of use, there’s really nothing out there that beats it. But some people get put off using paper, for one reason or another. Mostly due to a simple lack of knowledge.
In this video, photographer Joe Edelman tells us everything we need to know about working with seamless paper backdrops. Which to buy, how to store them, how to use them, how to make them last longer, and finally a couple of DIY tips to save you some money.
Adding coloured backgrounds to portraits is often done in camera at the time of shooting. It’s a quick and easy process that can be done either with the use of gels on your flashes, or by using a coloured backdrop. Sometimes, though, you’re shooting for a client, you don’t know what colour they ultimately want. Or, perhaps it’s for yourself, but you haven’t decided what colour you want the background to be.
In this Photoshop tutorial from Phlearn, Aaron Nace shows us how we can quickly go from a simple grey or white background, to any colour background we want. Aaron shows us some of the finer points of masking around hair to get a clean mask, and then giving the background a more natural feel with a vignette.
When working with compositions, one of the easiest things to do to add a little extra character to the image is to add a texture to the background.
There are multiple ways to achieve this, but photographer Glyn Dewis has one of the most effective methods I’ve come across. In his latest video, he shares how easy it can be to add a little texture to your image’s background to spruce up the scene a bit.[Read More…]