Lessons Through the Lens: Photography Backgrounds

Professional photographer Jessica Kettle offers her tips for building a good background indoors and out. Another key, she says is to use natural light! Turn OFF the flash and face your subject toward the natural light source for optimal results.

1. For a quick and easy DIY backdrop, try a large piece of mat board, available in a huge variety of at any craft or framing store. They are inexpensive, easy to move around your house and take very little time to set up! Lean it against a piece of furniture or tape it up on your wall. For a funkier look try attaching a piece of bold patterned fabric, wrapping paper, or wall paper.

2. For new babies, try pulling out a bean bag, crib mattress, or even just some pillows or a couch cushion. Lay a piece of black velour fabric or a fun bright colored blanket (preferably one with texture) on top of your cushion of choice and start snapping. Lay the baby in a variety of different positions and start snapping!

3. With indoor shots, don’t be afraid to use bright colors and bold patterns, either in your backdrop or your subjects’ clothing. Find a balance between the two; for example, a white or black backdrop looks great with a child wearing a brightly colored hat.

4. Set up your indoor shots facing a window with soft light. North facing windows usually have the best light throughout the day.

5. For outdoor shots, try shooting under light shade or a cloudy sky to avoid harsh shadows and highlights.

6. Look for a background with interesting colors and texture. Peeling paint, painted brick or scratched metal makes for a more eye catching picture than the typical park scenes.

7. Think outside the box! That perfect location may be just under your nose. Maybe you drive past an old barn or beautiful building on your way to work every day. Head downtown and peek into alleyways and behind restaurants. You will be sure to find something that fits your style.

8. Don’t be afraid to try a new perspective. If you lie on the ground and shoot up at your subject or stand above your subject and shoot down at them, often you will have a completely different look. Shoot your subject from behind or the side to achieve more variety in a single location.

Jessica Kettle photographs babies, children, families, and weddings with a fresh, modern, artisitic perspective. She believes that portrait photography should be a piece of art, as well as capture the essence of the subjects’ personalities and relationships.

www.jessicakettle.com    jesslkettle@yahoo.com

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