Backgrounds Are not Optional

A Christmas Cactus in full bloom in front of a black background.

A Christmas Cactus in full bloom in front of a black background.

Backgrounds can help your subject stand out, rather than be just an afterthought.  The choice of the right backgrounds are often an after thought or optional for some photographers.  In this age of advanced software programs and green screens some photographers have chosen to forget about the careful selection of a background for their subject, and choose a background from a DVD or photography software program.

The above image of a Christmas Cactus was taken in front of a piece of solid black poster board.  The lighting was then carefully controlled to light primarily the Christmas Cactus.  Another background could have been used, though would have created a very different image.  White backgrounds have a tendency to be more challenging to deal with, as the camera settings and lighting requirements are different.

The skilled, experienced, and professional photographer will look at and try a variety of backgrounds to find the one that helps make each subject stand out and be noticed by those viewing the photograph.  No single background will work with every subject, which will be discussed in the next blog entry.

Which backgrounds do you have which help your subjects stand out?  Which backgrounds have you discovered do not work well with some subjects?  When was the last time you carefully walked around and looked at your backgrounds?  Are your backgrounds well thought out before you have made your photographs?


About Douglas Wilks Photography

I am an advanced photographer who lives in western Montana. I create a variety of strong images using a DSLR, computer, and digital software. I am available for hire for full time, part time, or projects. Most of my images are of landscapes, still life, and events. I am always looking to improve my skills, network of friends and professionals, and portfolio. I look forward to creating new friends, contacts, and others who are interested in photography.
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