Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Importance of A Good Background Check

OK, I'm not saying call the FBI and have them check out the background of your friends.   I am suggesting that when you are composing your shot you need to be aware of the background.   Unless your subject fills the frame, the background could take up a larger portion of the photographic real estate than the subject.   It's important to make sure the background adds to the photo and does not take away from it.

When you're composing the shot think
  • Does the background contain a lot of clutter that can be distracting?
  • Does an object in the background intersect with the subject?
  • Does the color of the background make the subject stand out or blend in and get lost?

Here's a few examples to illustrate what I'm saying

Cluttered distracting background

Less clutter = better image
The two photos are of the same Great White Heron taken a second or two apart.  In the first the tree branches and twigs give a cluttered feel. The bright water behind the bird draws the viewers attention, which is not where I want them to look.  The leaves in the second are more uniform and less distracting.

Cooper with an arrow through his head
OK, he doesn't have an arrow through his head but the cord running from the large wheel to the smaller one appears to go through his head. You may have to click on the image to see if full size to appreciate what I'm saying.  It would have been better if I had held the camera higher or moves a little to one side or the other and avoid this intersection.

Finally, look for backgrounds where the dominant color is complementary to the dominant color of the subject.  This will make the subject stand out in the frame.

Butterfly blends with the background

This butterfly seems to jump right off the screen.
The off white butterfly kind of gets lost in the first image. You can't help but look at the orange one in the second image.

Next time you're composing a shot take a second and do a background check.   You may be able to improve your image.

1 comment:

  1. But let's face it, Richard. When you are shooting with Kent Ervin and Chuck Barnes an FBI background check can't hurt.