The Importance of Background in Wildlife Photography

Perhaps second only to having a great subject is a great background. The importance of the background in an image is often overlooked by many photographers.

I often see wildlife images that would be so much better had the photographer made a conscious decision about their background. How do I know they didn't? I ask them, and I often get a response like, "I didn't think about that." Wildlife photos often have a lot of background, which means that it's essential to put as much thought into the background as the subject itself. A great background not only presents the subject in its best environment but also isolates the subject from distracting elements. Often, it also contributes to the mood of the image with its color, details, or purposeful lack of details.

In this video, nature photographer Trond Westby shares his tips about how to create five different types of backgrounds when shooting wildlife. Not only does Trond share his advice about when you might want to use the different kinds of backgrounds, but also the various exposure techniques to achieve these effects.

Trond also explains how the background of an image plays into selling prints, and why people may prefer one kind over another. 

Mike Dixon's picture

Mike Dixon is a Muskegon Michigan based landscape and nature photographer who's passionate about anything photography or tech related.

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