Photography 101: 7 ways to create a good background

by lyonOP

In photos, it is important to highlight your subject, so that you can only see him. But sometimes you can forget to focus on the background as well : who has never seen an object that seemed to come out of someone’s head in a picture? Let’s find out together how to manage the background well to reinforce the impact of the subject.

Indeed, a bad background can be disastrous and completely distract from your subject, while a good background can on the contrary reinforce it by creating an atmosphere, by situating the context or by giving information. on its environment.

So let’s see all the ways to get a good background on your images, and the effect it can have on the mood reflected by your images:

1. Change location

It might sound obvious, but if your background is bad, it might just be enough to shake it up. Your subject if you can (when photographing people), or just yourself!

2. Keep it simple

The more you simplify your images, that is to say the fewer elements there will be in them (other than your subject), the easier it will be to obtain a good, simple and refined background, which will necessarily highlight your subject, since there will be nothing to do elsewhere. It may seem simple to do, but even using a blur of the background, there can be distracting elements. This is because, since the brightest places catch the eye, if your background has small spots of light, they will distract from your subject. This happens especially when you have the benefit of hard light, in broad daylight and in good weather for example.

3. Contrast the background against the subject

As the eye is drawn to and intrigued by the contrast, it is interesting to contrast the background with your subject. If it is rather light, then try placing a dark background behind it. But be careful, without spots of light or color! Likewise, if your subject is dark, you can place it in front of a light background, as long as it is generally even, since specks of light might catch the eye.

Also, bear in mind that a dark background or a light one will not create the same type of mood at all.

4. Let your subject breathe

We certainly try to eliminate the annoying elements of the background, but not to eliminate it completely. It is a major element of your image, and it should be integrated into your composition rather than trying at all costs to exclude it.

In short, remember to let your subject breathe a little, that is to say to leave room in the background. Be careful not to fall into the opposite extreme either: if it is very crowded, distracting, or if your subject becomes downright too small in the image!

5. Change focal length

A distance equal to a focal length greater part more tight, that is to say that you will have a less large part of the background in the viewfinder. It can be a good way to remove distracting elements from the background, rather than bringing you closer (If you want to go further on this topic, I invite you to read my article on the effects of distance and focal length )

6. Use the backlight

We come back to the paragraph on simplicity: the backlight, by creating Chinese shadow effects (silhouette) greatly simplifies the background. That said, you have to love the effect for what you want to do, as backlighting will often prevent the subject from being visible. That said, we can very well imagine a background all in silhouettes, and a subject well lit by a secondary light source.

7. A bit of retouching

I hardly ever do it, but when you have an image with a good background overall, except 1 or 2 annoying details that you can easily remove with retouching, it would be a shame to go without! Particularly if you did n’t have a choice when it came to shooting (stuck in the corner of a small concert hall for example).

This is not the subject of this article, but be aware that you can use the Correction Stamp tool under Gimp, and that it is quite simple. I’ll make a video of it if you want (leave a comment if you’re interested!).

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