2014 Challenge, Week 33: COMPOSITION – BACKGROUND

It’s time for another composition challenge. This time, we are going to concentrate on the background of your photo – the things that are not the subject of the photo.

It’s easy to pay so much attention to the subject of the photo that you end up with distracting background elements. This week, take some time to look at what is behind your subject, and see if you can figure out how to remove those distracting elements.

One way to do this is by careful placement of foreground and background elements. In this example, the subject of the image (a girl) is positioned so that there is only sky and water in the background. The pier in the background is off to the left, helping to frame the subject rather than interfering with the subject. The lighting and exposure emphasize the subject, and the depth of field and use of a LensBaby keep the focus on the subject, rendering other elements less focused.

“Beach Girl” by John Curley

The example above used a flash, diffuser, and special lens, but it is not necessary to use a lot of equipment to simplify the background of an image. This flower was shot in natural light using a piece of white paper as a background.

“Flower” by Simon Whitaker

Another way to remove distracting background elements is to use a large aperture, resulting in sharp focus on the subject and out of focus background. You can refer back to week 10 for more tips on depth of field.

“At The Bourbon Bar” by Jeremy Brooks

Take some time when composing your shots this week. Look around the entire frame and make sure there are no elements in the background that are distracting. With some practice, this will become second nature. Now get out there and have some fun!

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org. or #photochallenge2014.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2014 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

About Steve Troletti

I'm a Location Scout, Editorial, Nature, Wildlife and Environmental Photographer based in Malibu, California. I specialize in Nature and Urban Nature photography including Infrared Landscapes. The Bulk of my work takes place in the Los Angeles, California area, Greater Montreal Region, Canada, Switzerland, France and Varese in Northern Italy. Ethical wildlife photography is the main priority and focus of my work. A minimum disturbance of the animals, their habitat and the environment is my top priority. This applies as much to total wilderness areas as it does to urban nature environments. Ongoing education of environmental issues and building awareness for the protection of wildlife and wilderness areas around the world is what drives me to document the beauty that surrounds us.