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Don't Neglect the Background...

by Tracie Louise (follow)
Visit my website tracielouise.com... all images used in my articles are taken by me, unless otherwise stated.
As a nature and wildlife photographer, I know the importance of background in your images. Known as “negative space”, it can make or break your images, particular when it comes to wildlife or macro photography, but also for portraits and other kinds of images as well.

In my own work, I spend at least as much time (usually more) thinking about the background, composing it and then editing in such a way as to really draw attention to the main subject of the image, which is really the purpose of most forms of photography to begin with.

In this first example I shot these two images in the same location, both of a red dragonfly but you can easily see the importance of background in really making your image pop.

Red Dragonfly
very distracting background

By repositioning yourself, or in this case waiting for the dragonfly to land on a higher spot and shooting from a different angle, you get a much more pleasing result where the subject matter can easily take centre stage.

Red Dragonfly
no distractions from main subject

Of course this doesn't only apply when shooting wildlife in the great outdoors. My old home had a backyard bird feeder off the back deck and this made for some wonderful birding opportunities. But as you can see in the following examples, the same rule applies.

Pale headed Rosella
too much going on in the background

When once again by simply moving your feet and looking at your subject from another angle... or being patient (an absolute must in wildlife photography), and waiting for them to move to a move favourable position, you can achieve an entirely different outcome.

Tracie Louise Photography
much more pleasing outcome

The same bushes are still behind the rosella but by opening up the aperture they cause much less of a distraction. Sometimes there is nothing you can do about the situation you are shooting in, and this is especially true when shooting wildlife in the wild.

bird in a bush
sometimes the foreground is the issue

There was nothing I could do in this particular situation but wait. I had just found a new species of bird that I hadn't seen before, which is the biggest thrill for a wildlife photographer. And he was not playing nice. I stalked him for quite some time to eventually end up with a nice shot but in situations such as these, there is nothing you can do but wait and hope.

bird in a bush
patience pays off in the wild

So no matter what type of photography you are into, please don't neglect the background distractions. It can be as simple as moving your feet and getting in a better shooting position, or utilising different camera settings to blur the background.

Tracie Louise Photography
isolate your subject for best affect

In future articles I will be explaining step by step how to use simple photoshop techniques to really affectively blur background and highlight the subject matter as well as different methods for removing unwanted items from your image. Don't forget to subscribe to Photo WOW Factor, so you don't miss out on all my tips and tricks.
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Nice work Tracie, I think a lot of photographers become so focused on capturing the wildlife facing or positioned a certain way which makes them forget all about the background.
So great advice to all the wildlife photographers to keep in mind. Thanks Tracie :)
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