How to choose backgrounds when taking portraits

When taking a portrait, backgrounds are important. They play a vital role in how well the subject stands out. If you are using a green screen and will insert a digital background later, make sure the subject is not wearing green clothing, as the rendering will take out various shades.
The best way to make the subject the focus is to place him or her in front of a background that contrasts with the clothes being worn. For example, if the subject is wearing black leather, a white background will help that stand out. Be careful about taking portraits in front of mirrors and windows, as glare can affect the results.
Advertisement
Materials
- White background such as a white wall or flat sheet
- Colored background such as a brick or painted wall
- Freestanding lamp with movable head
DIY Everywhere
Instructions for indoors
1. Choose a contrasting or neutral background. If the subject is wearing dark colors, place him or her in front of a light-colored or white background such as a white wall or an ironed white sheet hung from the ceiling or wall. Place a subject wearing light colors in front of a darker background.
2. If you need additional light, position the lamp so it casts as little shadow as possible. Make sure the light is not reflecting off of metal accessories such as zippers and snaps or off of glasses or oily skin.
3. Position the subject close to the background; if the background is a wall, the subject may lean against it.
Instructions for outdoors
1. Choose a background that does not overwhelm the subject; for example, you will "lose" the subject if you place him or her in front of a mural. Choose a neutral background when possible.
Advertisement
2. Position the subject at least 3 feet from the wall.
3. Shoot at an angle.
Resources

Do you want to master a blurred background in your portrait pictures? Read on for 6 tips to blur the background in portraits!
July 6   ·  
Advertisement
Here are some great tips to help you better take wildlife photos.
July 5   ·  
Not sure how to use your camera's histogram? Here are 6 tips to ensure you're using it properly.
July 4   ·  
Concrete cinder blocks aren't known for their looks – instead, they're used for their durability. Not anymore!
June 27   ·  
Marble contact paper can transform even the most boring objects into something beautiful!
June 14   ·  
'While far from 'perfect,' they provided just what I needed, and they provided it on a dime…'
July 5   ·