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Jandjapeue Hangula's picture

The Silent Garden

Shot this image at a location garden of a model on a cloudy morning. I done little post editing on it.

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Ian McCann's picture

I have one main suggestion, be very careful about choosing your backgrounds. I can't give you one "golden rule" to picking great backgrounds for every type of photo or even every person photograph but generally the background works for the subject if it is; not sharply focused, not strongly defined and not stongly coloured.

In the above we have all three problems. 1, sharply focused foliage and stonework. 2, bright leaves and flowers against black shaddows. 3, bright green, yellow and fuscia coloured foliage behind a model with dark skin colour. If she had been a fair skined blond then it would have been less of a problem, our eye sees pale and bright parts of our pictures and the person should be where our eye spends most of the time.

You will find it easier to photo people with a more supportive background, rather than a overwhelming backdrop, if you think in advance and choose carefully, ideally shoot with a lens longer than standard, so 85mm - 200mm (on a full frame dslr type camera, or equivelant focal length, put a big distance between the subject and the background and shoot head and shoulder type images. Practice working this way but thinking about the effect of the background choice before satrting to position and pose your subject is the most important thing to nail. Of course, shooting with a very wide aperture, say f1.4 or f2 or f2.8, for instance, will help to pop the background out of focus, as I expect you know. If your lens is not so fast, say f4.5 or even f5.6, no worries, just make sure the subject and background are well separated and shoot at or near the widest aperture your lens has. Make sure the light is either similar on the the subject and the background or that the background is a little darker, not brighter, than the subject.

Don't forget, the background should support the subject not distract or overwhelm your sitter. Appropriate is also important, so a man can be shot agains backgrounds that perhaps a woman would not look so good against and children different again.

Have fun and make sure the model is having a ball., it will show in your photos but she will also want to do more shoots and she will tell friends and family, who will also want you to shoot them.