Experience tells me to consider all the elements in a photograph and how they work together to produce a professional image. Many times the background is the key.
Backgrounds can be a make or break element in your photograph. Photography backgrounds should be like spices in your favorite soup. Too much and that is all you notice, not enough and your creation is bland.
An easy fix to this is generally a studio background. A muted blue or brown canvas that has some texture and slight variations in the color. Placed behind the subject, with the proper lighting, a studio background provides a clean textured element that is not only, not a distraction, but rather a complementing element to the subject. These are great for tight headshots.
Many times a client wants an image with a little more personality. A photograph that shows something about their business or the world in which they work. What I refer to as an “environmental background”. There is generally a little more of a challenge to this. Here are a few hints that can help with all your portraits.
Use a telephoto lens. The longer the focal length and the closer you are to your subject the more out of focus the background will be. An office out of focus is still and office, but not overpowering and distracting from your subject. Shooting with a wide-open aperture also helps. Use a tripod.
Avoid bright elements in your background. When looking at a photo a person’s eyes focus on these, which again does nothing but distract from your subject, especially on the edges of your frame. Use a tripod.
Another situation to avoid is a background that is too dark. Put some light behind your subject if needed to make them stand out. Use a tripod.
If you haven’t started using off-camera lights, make the investment and learn how to use them. You can do so for a couple hundred dollars and they will make photos look like they were taken by a Pro and not a Joe. Use a tripod.
One more hint. Break every rule, have fun and see what happens. Oh, in case I did not mention it, use a tripod.
See more information on my website about photographing executive portraits and corporate branding.Andy Templeton Photography Executive Portraits Orange County www.atempletonphoto.com