The Two Best Backgrounds for Flattering Skin Tones

The background is an element of a scene that's easy to overlook, but it has huge power over the final image. Here are two of the best backgrounds for accentuating skin tones in your portraits.

Whether you blur your backgrounds to goo, or you enjoy crisp, front-to-back focus, your background is crucial to your final image. Early on in my time with a camera, an experienced photographer said to me that what you blur out is as important as what you have in focus, and it took me some years before I fully appreciated the value of that wisdom. A background should complement its foreground, and in the case of portraiture, it ought to play a supporting role to your subject. One important way it can achieve this is to accentuate the skin tones.

In this video, veteran portrait photographer Lindsay Adler goes through her go-to backgrounds for portraits, depending on skin tone. The important takeaway from this video (apart from the value of seeing such great behind-the-scenes footage) is that studio backgrounds are far more versatile than people give them credit for. Even a backdrop that is one block color and has no texture, like the ones in this video, can be used to complement many different looks depending on how you choose to light them and your subject.

What are your favorite backgrounds for portraits?

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