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6 Ways Effective Backgrounds Improve Photography

The quickest way to augment your photography involves understanding and leveraging the art of good backgrounds.

A photo’s composition is significantly affected by the background. When pictures have backgrounds that are distracting, they essentially look very cluttered and like they were clicked by amateurs. On the other hand, the composition becomes significantly better with the help of intentional backgrounds, which incorporate both meaning and depth in a picture.

One could easily overlook the significance of a background, forgetting that it plays a crucial role in a picture. However, when adequate time is taken to focus on the background’s details, it can almost instantly create novel photographic opportunities. As a result, your photography can be taken to the next level.

Set the Stage

For the overall composition, it is the background that establishes the stage.

With an effective background, you can incorporate more substance to the story, as you offer more information pertaining to the setting, which will help substantially augment your picture. The background must be your focus as much as the subject. That is because the background is a huge part of the photograph, and usually, it creates the difference between a mere snapshot and a composition that is powerful.  

You must use backgrounds to highlight the subject within a context that ensures that they stand out. However, ensure that it is not overwhelming. Thankfully, it is not difficult to find the perfect background for your pictures. All you need is a little practice to determine the ideal backgrounds that align well with the composition at hand.

We have collated a few tips and techniques to assist you in creating beautiful pictures that have strong backgrounds.

1. A Powerful Composition is usually simple

Typically, the objects placed in the background tend to seek attention along with the subject. Thus, they often result in effects that are far from aesthetic. In case you notice that your background is extremely cluttered, shift the subject to a place with a simple background, such as a plain wall. A simple background will direct attention back to the subject, emphasizing their emotions, features, and expressions.

2. Consume the Frame

In a few cases, the optimal way to leverage your background is by taking up the entire frame with the subject. When you click a close up of the subject, you can avoid elements in the background that are unnecessary and distracting. However, ensure that the subject being shot will complement this technique and a crucial part of the subject is not being cropped.

3. Exhibit a Sense of Depth with lines

Compositions that are effective typically use lines for attracting the viewer. Moreover, lines in the background can also assist in creating a form of movement within your images, or even help establish a sense of depth. Lines that are converging and disappear into the distance typically attract the viewer and incorporate a certain amount of depth. However, avoid using background lines that are unintentional and intrusive. Do not use horizontal lines or telephone lines right behind the head of your subject and ensure that no other lines are present that run in other directions. When distracting lines are integrated merely increases the confusion in the scene.

4. Leverage Contrasting Backgrounds

With contrasting backgrounds, you can integrate an element of drama and excitement and can help drive the attention to your subject. When people think of contrast, the thought immediately jumps to black and white. However, it is interesting to note that in black and white pictures, tonal contrast is simpler to spot. Even in color, there is a lot of tonal contrast. When your images are being composes, find backgrounds with different shades and tones, and leverage colors contrasting with your subject, integrating visual drama in your photos.

5. Blur the Background

The ideal way to use a distracting background is by blurring it. To do so, merely tune your depth of field with the help of a wide aperture, and ensure that there is some distance between your subject and the background. The blur is more is more significant of there is more distance between them. Begin with an aperture of around f/18 and slowly decrease it. As you end up at f/4, the background will begin to blur. Try to find opportunities where you can use a wide aperture for creating bokeh background, which is a great element in the background for every composition.

6. Leverage the Background for Communicating Your Story

Usually, powerful photos communicate a story. They are great elements to augment your images, and effectively help communicate your story. Regardless of where you are- in a scenic area or a crowded busy market, or a street corner that is dimly lit, integrating the background will assist in setting the scene and providing your viewers with an insight into your picture’s context.  

Although backgrounds are usually overlooked in photography, when you focus on the background and its impact on the composition, it can help create images that are visually powerful. It’s interesting that merely altering your position or even slightly shifting the subject can completely transform the background and the overall composition.  

Regardless of the type of background you choose- simple, bright, or zoomed in, ensure that it is intentional.

When you focus on the details in the background, and leverage them effectively, you can create compositions that are powerful and visually rich.

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