Portrait Backgrounds Pros and Cons

· Light up your subject: Get your subject in a bright area so they pop up against a dark background. One way to do this is to put them near a window. By doing this, you can force other elements in the frame into the shadows.

One of the best ways to make the subject of your photos pop is to eliminate extra elements in a picture. This usually means keeping your background as clean as possible. The most obvious solution: shoot in a studio. However, this isn’t always possible. Besides, there are ways to clean up the background while still shooting on location.

· Put them against a wall: A wall is usually the cleanest background you can get.

· Light up your subject: Get your subject in a bright area so they pop up against a dark background. One way to do this is to put them near a window. By doing this, you can force other elements in the frame into the shadows.

· Darken your subject: Sometimes, you can blow out your background to highlight your subject. You can point a light behind them, or you can bring them under the shade of a tree and force the background to almost white. One additional effect of this is that you get a nice halo around your subject.

· Change your angle: Make the sky your background by getting low and looking up at your subject. You can also use the ground by getting high up above.

· Get up close and personal: By filling your frame with your subject, you eliminate the background entirely. This technique works especially well for babies and for people with striking eyes. Then again, this might also bring out any flaws on a subject's face.

The outdoor portrait above was taken by Key Peninsula Middle School student Jessica Kahler from Gig Harbor, WA. Read more about Photography at Key Peninsula middle school here.

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