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7 Tips for Selecting the Perfect Background

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When you shoot an engagement session or wedding, there are elements you look for to ensure you can create the best photos for your clients. From lighting, to posing, to location, you make sure that you and your clients are set up for a successful shoot. In addition to the elements you look for, how much attention do you pay to selecting the perfect background?

The background can help you make a stunning photo, or can turn your shoot into a nightmare if you don’t use it to your advantage! So you can always find a background to suit your shoot, here are 7 tips for selecting the perfect background for your couples.

1. Look for Something New

As a photographer, you may spend time shooting the same locations over and over. While this is fine, don’t be afraid to mix it up. Look for backgrounds that you have not shot before. Perhaps you have always wanted to shoot your couple in front of a busy city or in front of a legendary monument. Find ways to incorporate backgrounds that differentiate your images from past ones. This creates stunning photos for your couple and also keeps you motivated to take dynamic photos.

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Image Compliments of Rachel Rossetti Photography

2. Match their Style

When your couple first booked you, they likely shared details of their unique personal style. This is something to consider when selecting a background for their engagement and wedding day photos. As their photographer, it is your responsibility to make sure their style is reflected in their images.

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If you know that your couple loves the beach, suggest their engagement shoot be at a local beach where you can use the ocean and the sky as their background. For the wedding day, look for ways to incorporate the location into the background of your photos. The location of the getting ready time, ceremony, and reception is part of your couples personal style because they chose to celebrate their day there.

Related: Find out what the best images are to take throughout the wedding day shoot, plus how to get them published, with our Free Guide! 

3. Avoid Awkward Distractions

Look to see if there are objects in the background that take away from the image. When you pose your couple and move to take the shot, do you notice it looks like a tree is coming out from behind their head? Are there people in the background? Sure, you could crop them out in Photoshop later, but the idea is to nail the shot right away so you can save yourself time in your post-wedding workflow.

When you work in the worst conditions, find a way to work with the location to capture images that create a million dollar feel to the wedding. If you pose your client initially and realize the background is not working, move them around until you find a position that works. If you need to, bring along a backdrop you can place over a drab background. Even if you send your images to a wedding photo editing service for color correction, distractions should be eliminated before you take the photos.

4. Switch Angles

Often times, switching angles can help you capture a background you may have not thought of before. Say you are shooting outdoors – you can shoot from a higher angle and have the grass be a part of the background; or you can shoot from a lower angle and have the sky as your backdrop. This is especially helpful when you are shooting in a location where there is not much you can do with the backgrounds you are provided with.

Related: We’ve pulled 26 key tips from Roberto Valenzuela’s Picture Perfect Lighting – use them to advance your lighting knowledge!

5. Pay Attention to Lighting

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Because the light is an important part of your photo, it plays a major role in the result of your images. Pay attention to the lighting as you select your background. If your shoot is midday and the sun is harsh, find a way to incorporate the light into the background without risking the quality of the photo. A great way to do this is to position your couple differently. You can pose them beneath a tree or next to a building where there is shade. You can also create sun flare for the background of your image to create additional interest.

6. Blur the Background

While you shoot with the bride and groom, there can be many occasions where you do not have an interesting background to work with. When this occurs, use photography techniques to create a background for a dynamic photo. This is a great time to use a telephoto lens and just focus on your couple, allowing the background to become out of focus and a blur of color.

7. Find Unique Landscapes

For you to create images your clients will love, and that will separate you from other photographers in the industry, find unique landscapes to use as your background. Depending on where your shoot is, take the opportunity to look for landscapes to elevate your images. If you are indoors, or do not have an impressive landscape to work with, look for stunning architecture to use as the background. With landscapes and architecture as the background, use the rule of thirds to create additional interest in your photo. 

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Image Compliments of Kim Payant Photography

When you choose the perfect background for your images, you have the opportunity to create memories your clients will cherish for years to come. Discover additional ways to develop stunning photos with our Pro Photographer Lighting and Posing Guide!

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