I often worry about the cluttered background while taking shots. It felt as though I couldn’t take a perfect photo without a perfect scene until I realized that this photographer’s block had impeded my progress and I started looking for the cure.

 

Rainbow Clouds - HDR
I remember that we can use a dim light to dim the background while creating a dark mood. We can also take monochrome photos or turn color photos into monochrome ones to filter out the distraction from any colorful background detail. We can even use impressionist techniques to eliminate the detail.

 

However, sometimes a beautiful background is the icing on the cake. So how can we capture countless stunning scenes without worrying about the background anymore?

The Sky Is the Limit

We’ve learned to use natural elements to create a mood. We can also use natural elements as our backdrops. When the weather is perfect, the blue sky and cirrus cloud are our free perfect backdrops. Take the opportunity whenever the weather is agreeable to go outside. Capture the scenes from varying angles with the sky and cloud as the backdrop.

 

Blue skies & orange flowers

In-Camera Techniques

We’ve learned in-camera techniques to create blurred effects in impressionist photography. We can use the similar technique to blur backgrounds.

 

Using large aperture values to narrow the depth of field is a well-known technique to throw unwanted details in the background into a blur.

 

Another macro of a tiny white flower with four petals

 

In the following merry-go-round photo, the photographer was moving at the same speed as the model, and threw unwanted details in the background into a colorful blur.

 

Playing on the Merry go round

Handy Gadgets

A reflector is a piece of versatile photography gear inexpensive. One of its 22 practical uses is as an impromptu backdrop.

 

Food & Mood

 

In this photo, the photographer created the purple background by shooting a purple-gelled flash through a translucent white backdrop-the middle part of a reflector.
You can take it one-step further and just use colored gels for colored backgrounds or to set a particular mood. This technique can give you virtually an unlimited number of backgrounds.

The Cheap Backdrops That Don’t Look Cheap

Vika-0001

 

This photo looks professionally taken in a studio, but it’s taken at home with a room wall as a backdrop. You can also take professional-looking photos with exquisite and diverse backdrops you can find around your house.

With Photoshop

What if you don’t have a lucky weather, don’t have time to play with and try out camera settings, and simply don’t have any handy gadget or backdrop near you? When you have captured a satisfying subject but with a cluttered background, you still have Photoshop as your backup. Photoshop is able to create post-processing wonders including a perfect backdrop.

 

0988 Bee on Thistle.

 

In this gorgeous thistle photo, the photographer used zoom on the radial blur filter to blur the background, and purple daisies, a Photoshop nature texture. It looks exactly as if the effect was produced using in-camera techniques.

Further Reading

How to Get that “Photo Studio Look” without a photo studio

About The Author

is a photography enthusiast and a frequent traveler who truly appreciates every tiny beauty of life and has traveled extensively around the world. She finds herself keen on a unique type of photography and calls herself a culture photographer. Her passion is Paris where she has been to more than once, living as a Parisian. She has walked big streets and small alleys in Paris, and every inch of the city has given her inspiration. She has a Paris collection on Alamy.com and a Paris travel blog at ParisEncore.com.

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  • VickiC

    On the last image, I might add a step to prevent the ghosting of the flowers. On the background layer, I’d either morph the middle of the layer after zoom until the flowers no longer are revealed around the photo subject or even morph the flowers smaller before the zoom is applied. Of course, some might prefer the ghosting to remain…