- A Beginner's Guide to Aperture and Depth of Field
- 3 Ways to Vastly Improve Your Portrait Photography
- A Beginner’s Step-by-Step Guide to Understanding Metering Modes
- 4 Portrait Photography Tips Every Beginner Should Know
Let's face it...
Not every portrait you take will happen in a gorgeous location.
That means that sometimes you'll need alternatives to help you ditch the ugly background in favor of something more suitable for your shot.
Lucky for you, there's all sorts of ways you can do that.
Blur the Background
Perhaps the easiest approach to dealing with ugly portrait backgrounds is to simply blur it out.
Open up the aperture, get close to your subject, increase the distance between your subject and the background, and you can end up with a gorgeous, bokeh-filled background like the one above.
It's all a matter of manipulating the factors I listed above, each of which plays a part in the depth of field of the shot.
There's a problem, though...
Even if the background is blurred out, sometimes the colors, shapes, and even the pattern of light and shadow in the background can still be really distracting. Then what?
Overexpose or Underexpose the Background
If blurring the background simply isn't an option, you can use your camera's exposure settings to overexpose the background, rendering it bright white, or underexpose it, rendering it dark black.
To do so, place your subject in front of a bright (or dark) background, use your camera's spot meter setting to get a light reading from the subject's face, and take the shot.
If you're indoors, placing your subject in front of a window is perfect for blowing out the background; if you're outdoors, place the sun directly behind the model.
If you're going for a dark look, all you need to do is find a shadowed area.
Indoors, you can close all the curtains and use lamps, flashguns, and other light sources to illuminate your subject while keeping the background black.
If you're outside, find a dark background like a darkly painted wall in an alley or a thickly forested area to give you the dark background you're looking for.
Invest in a Beautiful Portrait Backdrop
A surefire way to avoid having an ugly background is to buy a portrait backdrop.
Not only does this ensure that you have something beautiful behind your portrait subject, but it's also something that's readily available to you - you don't have to hunt around for an ideal portrait location because you have one ready-made for you right there in your studio.
Another benefit of using a portrait backdrop is that there are so many different possibilities for looks and styles.
Take Click Props, for example.
They offer more than 200 unique designs, giving you the opportunity to place your subject in a library, in a forest, in front of a plaster or brick wall, and many other beautiful options.
What's more, these backdrops are easy to use and store.
Just unfurl the backdrop, hang it up using the reinforced grommets, and you're ready to go.
Then, roll the backdrop up, slide it into its clear plastic tube, and it's out of the way until you need it again.
There's even a variety of sizes to meet your particular needs. If your studio space is small, get a 5'x5' backdrop.
On the other hand, if you work with families or have a larger studio space, opt for a 7'x9.5' backdrop.
In other words, not only does Click Props offer you tons of options and versatility for your backdrops, but these backdrops are so easy to use that it will improve your workflow as well.
No more spending hours tediously selecting the background in Photoshop so you can delete it...
Instead, with just a few minutes of setup and teardown, and you can create gorgeous portraits with a perfect background.