Okay, this one’s a big one for me. For people out there who post on FB and Instagram be aware that the background in those photos are speaking to us all, some folks are scoping out the books you’re reading, what’s on the floor and what kind of animals you have or what you’re snacking on. Its a visual thing, my eye too wanders all around a photo whether its intentionally shot or not. Notice where your eye wanders when looking at an image.
After having my nephew my sister in law asked what she could do to take better photos of her new babe, my first answer was to pay attention to the background. Most people just want to ‘get the shot’ and the idea of what’s happening in the background is an afterthought. This simple step can make a big change in your photography, by simply taking a moment to see the image as a whole you’ll start train your eye.
For me, the subject of the picture is always more important than the picture – Diane Arbus
Tip No. 3
BE MINDFUL OF YOUR BACKGROUND
If something can easily be moved out of the way, move it. If there is another way to take the shot by eliminating the extra noise, do it. Every element in your photograph becomes part of the story you’re trying to tell, every piece of information your are giving to your viewer creates a visual dialogue. That being said be mindful of what is in the background and foreground, for that matter.
I went to a family shoot and the family wanted a formal portrait in their living space. The mom had just finished laundry and left it with the empty baskets on the dining room table (which was in the background) I asked if it could be moved. Her reply was, “No, that’s real life around here and it doesn’t bother me.” So folded laundry and all made it to their Holiday card. It told a story of a family of 6 whose life was full, filled with the every day chores and busyness that we all know too well. She wasn’t trying to hide it or make her life seem picture perfect, it was reality and she owned it.
For this part of the series I want you to to scroll through whatever images you have on your camera right now and see what’s in the background, how does it relate to what you want to say and are you okay with it? When you’re in a public place take a few seconds to wait for the area to clear out in the space you are wanting to photograph, 9 times out of 10 people will gladly give you space to take the shot. When you’re outside be aware of cars, people, trash cans; when you’re inside be aware of the space all around your subject and take a few moments to remove whatever you don’t want in your photograph. Or better yet keep the stuff around and take a shot, then remove it and take another, compare the two- how do each read to you? What would you make different?