One of the best things that a photographer can do to give their images more impact is to consider their composition. This can come in many, many forms but I don’t want to overwhelm so I’ll take them one at a time. Today’s topic is related to one I’ve discussed in the past – simplifying the background. Spring helped me when I last wrote about backgrounds and she’s back today for this easy lesson.
Have you ever looked at a picture and noticed that a tree or pole seems to be growing out of a person’s head? Take this portrait of Spring for example. I’ve exaggerated it here by putting Spring and the plant on a white seamless paper but I wanted to emphasize the point. As I’ve mentioned before, just a slight shift in perspective can make a big difference.
So I know what you’re thinking – I could always just shoot away now and use the magic later to fix it in post. And you’re right! But consider this – each of these two photos was created a 1/160 second exposure taken, maybe if I was being really slow, five minutes apart so we are talking about a total of 5 minutes and 1/80th of a second elapsed time. In order to edit the first photo to have a clean white background, I’d spend at least fifteen minutes to do a convincing job of it. And that even takes into consideration that I’m an Adobe Certified Expert with Photoshop. How much longer might it take someone with less experience? Now consider then that I might make 20, 50, or more images in a session and we are talking a BIG time commitment. Believe me when I tell you that there are much better things that you could be doing with your time even if that something else is just relaxing, reading a book, watching television, having a conversation with your friend, and more.
The bottom line then? It might not always be practical to change your perspective or you might simply not have noticed a distracting background element, but when you do notice and can do something about it, then make that adjustment. Your photos will be much stronger for that little bit of extra effort.