Holidays are just around the corner and soon we’ll be snapping pictures of our favorite trick-or-treaters, friends and family as well as festive decorations. Whether your subject is a person or an object, your background can make or break your shot. Often we are so “focused” on the subject that we don’t think about the background, yet in the resulting photo the background is very evident. A good practice is to select your background first and then move your main subjects into the scene. Let the background enhance the subjects rather than compete with them and watch for items such as poles and branches which appear to protrude from your subject’s bodies. That works for people, but what if you’re photographing a stationary object?
You can effectively move the background by repositioning your camera. Sometimes a minor shift up, down or to either side can drastically “move” the background objects, including moving them out of the scene altogether. Moving just a few feet to the side moved the tree trunk out of the picture and let the bird be the star of the scene.
Does your camera have zoom capability? Zoom In for a telephoto shot and background objects app ear to move closer to your main subject. Zoom Out to a wide angle shot and those same background objects are pushed away and appear tiny in the background. The results can be dramatic. Do you want to take a picture of the coin operated spotting scope or give the viewer an idea of what you might be looking at through the spotting scope?
Notice that the size of the flowers and cannon in the next shots are the same, i.e. they take up the same amount of resulting pictures space. By using a telephoto (zoom in) we can “pull” the distant objects closer to the main subject (flowers and cannon) to create a different story.
Step to the left, step to the right, stand up, sit down, and get it right! Move around and watch the actors in your scene move. And get out and play around with your wide angle and your telephoto, i.e. zoom out and zoom in. See if you can move large buildings in the process.