Take Better Photos - Choosing Right Backdrops

Feb 7, 2020 by Anna Maree



When taking photos, everything is in the details. Paying attention to small things, such as lighting, framing, and cropping can make a huge difference. Today we're going to talk about how to choose the right backdrops to really make your subject stand out.


Note: This tip will vary based on what color or mood you're trying to capture with each specific photo. 


When photographing a singular subject, the best way to get a photo to stand out is to make sure that your subject is the main focus of the photo. In order to do that, you want to make sure that the subject isn't in front of a busy backdrop that would draw your eyes past them and to the background itself. You want your subject to take the main focus and draw your eye in instantly.

The photo on the left is very distracting because of the brick on the wall behind the subject, it takes away from the subject of the photo who is supposed to be in the forefront. In the photo on the right, the train tracks which are out of focus, pull your eye to the center of the image where the girl is standing. These leading lines, draw your eye to your subject instantly.




With that being said, sometimes having a backdrop that has more complexity to it, will actually enhance the photo, depending on what you're trying to convey. Repeating lines and shapes like on the photo on the left can help capture the viewer’s attention. In the photo on the right, having your subject not be in the forefront, but almost "lost" in the backdrop gives you a different feeling than say the girl on the tracks above. 




When photographing things like food, having a bright backdrop keeps the food front and center and really makes the photo pop. While the photo on the left is still a good photo, the image on the right brings your eyes in and really makes you focus on the bright colors of the pie surrounded by the white with hints of green.

If you don't have a good surface to take photos on, one of the neat things you can do is either invest in a styling board or go down to your local craft store and just buy large pieces of different kinds of craft paper. It doesn't have to be expensive to take a great photo.




Feel free to play with colors and contrasts. The great thing about photography is learning the rules and the creatively figuring out how to break them. 

For example the photo with the photo on the left, the yellow lines draw your eye into the subject in the frame, it stands out because it's also the color that she's wearing. In the photo on the right, the red background catches your eye, but it's the dark subject in the forefront that fixates where you focus your attention.




I hope these quick little tips will help when you're ready to start taking photos again don't forget to think about the background of your subject and how it could hinder or help to enhance your photo.



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