Here’s a pro-tip for anyone wishing to improve their photography, no matter the device: pay attention to your background. Above, a picture my wife created as part of a set to commemorate a new set of soap she received from Haldecraft. She called this “Han has a bad feeling about this.” In this case, the story is more about the background than the foreground–Han, “The Roguish Smuggler”, is being watched by a barely visible Darth Vader, standing with a AT-AT. I really like this image BECAUSE it tells a story, and has multiple meanings in it. In this particular case, the background is what makes the image. But the concept of ‘pay attention to your background’ can be applied to most any photograph, and is what pro photogs spend an enormous amount of money on: getting the background to look exactly the way they want.
And there are some easy ways to deal with messy backgrounds, in order of easy to costly:
- Get a higher or lower angle on the subject. This will usually cause the subject to be cast against the ground or the sky, respectively.
- Remove distracting elements. The above was taken in my son’s room, which is totally full of distracting elements. My wife created this photo, paying attention to not only Han and the soap, but also the elements behind Han. She had to remove the detritus to get just the background she wanted.
- Hang a background of some sort. This is where you may think you’ve got to spend some money, but for big objects (e.g. people) it can be as easy as a sheet or blanket you’ve already got on hand. For smaller objects like flowers, a black or white shirt can do wonders to isolate a subject.
- Buy a lens with a large aperture, or (way cheaper) use the blur function in Instagram to isolate the subject.