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An interesting subject, posing your models creatively, great lighting, eye-catching props, and a gorgeous location - when you shoot an engagement session or a wedding, these are some of the elements you look for to create stellar images for your clients. But, how much attention do you pay in selecting the perfect background for your scenes? Although an ideal background plays an integral role in your visual storytelling, this is often one of the last things to feature in the priority list of many photographers. However, while a good background contributes immensely to the scene, if you lack a befitting background, chances are your images will fail to achieve the desired effect! So that you can always find a background that complements your scene, here are 7 tips for selecting the perfect background for your couples.

How To Select The Perfect Background For Your Images

1. Look For Something New

A bride and groom sitting at a pavilion with their pet dog

Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @apollofields

As a photographer, you may spend a lot of 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 before a legendary monument - go ahead and explore those options. Find ways to incorporate backgrounds that differentiate your images from past ones. Exploring new options will ensure that your couples get unique, stunning pictures each time and also keep you motivated to take dynamic photos.

2. Match Your Couple's Style

Make sure your couple’s style is reflected in the backgrounds you choose to tell their wedding story.

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 the images you create for them.

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 background. For the wedding day, look for ways to incorporate the location into the background of your photos. The locations of the getting ready time, ceremony, and reception are a part of your couple’s personal style because they chose to celebrate their day there. Therefore, find ways to capture the essence of their story with an ideal backdrop.

3. Avoid Distractions

While framing a scene, watch out for unflattering objects in the background that might take away from your image.

When you work in the worst conditions, find a way to work with the location to capture images that add a million-dollar feel to the whole wedding photography experience. If you pose your client initially and realize the background is not working, move them around until you find a position that complements your shots. 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 such as ShootDotEdit for color correction, distractions should ideally be eliminated before you take the photos. Lesser the clutter and noise, the better it is for your images! Imagine that you have a great setting and an equally amazing scope to tell a beautiful story through your images. But if there are unflattering elements crowding your scene, then chances are that the visual appeal of your images will be negatively impacted. How do you avoid such unwanted items from spoiling the beauty of your images? By watching out for objects in the background that might 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 photo-bombing your image? Awkward distractions such as these are better avoided while you frame your shot. 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 during your post-wedding workflow.

4. Switch Angles

A couple posing for a jump shot with their dog beside them

Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @trevorhooperphoto

Oftentimes, switching angles can help you capture a background you may not have 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 keep 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 at your disposal. So, put your creative hat on and capture images from unique, diverse angles. 

5. Pay Attention To Lighting

Because lighting is an important part of your photo, it plays a major role in how your images turn out. Pay attention to the lighting as you select your background. If your shoot is midday and the sunlight is harsh, find a way to incorporate the light into the background without compromising on 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 a sun flare for the background of your image to create additional interest. Perfect background for those artistic-looking images with a hint of the sun in the frame!

6. Blur The Background

A bride and groom posing while holding handsImage Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @dianenicolephoto

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 faced with such situations, relying on your photography skills could be the ideal thing to do! 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

A bride and groom standing on top of a cliff while holding hands during sunset

Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @dannydong

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, remember to use the rule of thirds to create additional interest in your photo.

When you choose the perfect background for your images, you have the opportunity to create memories your clients will cherish for years to come. Neglect this key aspect, and you run the risk of your images falling flat. To ensure that the background you shoot against adds to your story, we suggest you look for new ways to photograph it, often resorting to unique angles and creative ways of lighting your scene. And depending on the circumstances, feel free to either blur the background or even add a backdrop of your choice. From vintage backdrops to those made for artistic portraiture, you can take your pick and go for the one that fits your and your client’s vision. And finally, remember to keep your couple’s style and preference in mind when you get down to deciding on a background to narrate your visual story through your images. For more tips on creating stunning photos, read our other blogs here. And, if you have any unique background ideas for your images, let us know in the comments section below!

At ShootDotEdit, we are passionate about helping you grow as a wedding photographer. To help you dedicate more time to hone your skills and perfect your craft, we lessen your post-production workload with our professional photo editing services. To learn more about how we can help, check out our pricing plans.


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