Best Background Tips for better Photography

Michael • updated November 16, 2022 • 8 min read

Best Background Tips for better Photography

Distracting backgrounds make pictures look cluttered and unprofessional, but deliberate backgrounds immediately improve the whole composition and give pictures more depth and meaning.

It takes a lot more than believing your gut to find the background that works with your subject. After all, a photograph’s background can make or break it.

You’ll learn the various ways to deal with the background and how it can be used to balance out your main subject.


What is a background in photography?

The background is a component of the overall scene in photography. It’s in the background of the picture’s main subject.

Backgrounds can be used to draw attention to your topic in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the viewer. Fortunately, finding the ideal background for your photographs is not difficult.

Do some exercises, and you will quickly become skilled at evaluating backgrounds and spotting backgrounds that complement your photo composition.

Recent trends reduce backgrounds as much as possible to draw attention to the main subject. Photographers strive to keep clutter and distractions to a minimum in order to avoid detracting attention from the subject.

Here are our 7 tips and advice to help you take stunning pictures with stunning backgrounds.

1. A Composition with minimal distraction

The subject and background elements frequently vie for the viewer’s attention. This typically results in an undesirable outcome.

If your background appears to be too crowded, start moving your model in front of a plain background, this can be a wall, the sky, or another uncomplicated object. If you want to dive deeper into composition, you can read our article rules of thirds.

A plain, unobtrusive background will make your subject stand out and highlight their emotions, features, and expressions. 

non-distracting background
Non-distracting background, @ameya7s

Always consider your background to be the painting’s canvas. You want it to be clutter-free and clean enough so that viewers can concentrate fully on your subject.

Additional, we recommend to read our article about portrait vs landscape format in photography.

2. Fill the frame to avoid a background

The best way to deal with your background is sometimes to completely fill the frame with your subject. By taking a close-up of the subject, you can often get rid of distracting background elements.

Fill the frame, flower closeup
Fill the frame and avoid a background, @markusspiske

Just be certain that the subject you are photographing looks good with this method and that you aren’t removing an important portion of your image. 

Interested in more about looking good? Check our guide on how to make the perfect makeup for photos here!

3. Use lines and patterns to direct the viewer’s attention

Lines are a common tool in successful compositions to draw the viewer’s attention to the subject. Additionally, you can use background lines to add movement to your photos and to imply a sense of depth or distance.

Great examples of lines that add depth and draw the audience into the image include convergent lines that vanish into the distance.

diagonal lines in your photos background
Diagonal lines in photos background, @rosiefoto13


Take a close look at the lines in your background, such as those that delineate the horizon, lampposts, and buildings.

Make sure they then draw attention to the focal point. Keep in mind to compose the background as well. If you want to use them, make sure they don’t cut through your subject’s head so they stand out from the background. Instead, frame your picture so that the line is above or below their head.

Distracting lines will indeed complicate the current scene and act as a diversion.


People react very well to patterns because the subconscious mind enjoys organizing things. Make sure the background is filled with this.

However, viewers are more interested in how you disrupt that sense of order than the actual structure of patterns.

To break up the sense of symmetry, all you need to do is position your topic in front of a patterned background.

Just watch out for accidental background lines that might be distracting. Make absolutely sure there are no competing lines going in opposite directions, and steer clear of horizon lines or phone lines that directly cross your subject’s head.

4. Scale back the background

Blurring a background is among the most effective methods for dealing with it. If you can’t find a background that is plain, blurring it is an excellent way to neutralize and make it less distracting.

blur the background
Subject foreground sharp, background blurred, @niranjan_photographs

Set your aperture to a value between f/1.8 and f/2.8 to try using a shallow depth of field.

Work your way down from a lens aperture of about F/4 and move further down to f/1.8; you should start to notice your background blurring. Take advantage of a wide aperture to add beautiful background bokeh to your compositions.

Background tools to bring your photography to life

5. Incorporate the background into your story

Include the background in your composition to help set the scene and give viewers a sense of the setting, whether you are shooting outdoors in a picturesque area, at a bustling market, or on a dimly lit street corner.

tell a story background
Tell a story, @siora18

Many people believe that in order to take beautiful photos, they must only travel to scenic locations, but this isn’t always the case.

You’ll discover that there are a ton of undiscovered settings in your neighborhood that you could be used as potential backdrops if you take a stroll around.

Although backgrounds are frequently disregarded in photography, paying very close attention to the backdrop and how it affects your composition will help you produce images that have a strong visual impact.

6. Use colors and shades for contrasting backgrounds

A wonderful way to add excitement and drama to your photo and draw attention to your subject is to use backgrounds that are different from your subject. Most people associate contrast with black and white, but there is tonal contrast in color imagery as well.

Color contrast background
Color contrast background, @lukeporter

In order to emphasize your subject and add visual appeal to your photographs, look for backgrounds that contain a variety of tones and shades. You can also use colors that contrast with your subject.

7. Add drama with negative space

The use of negative space will enable you to produce dramatic images. It will draw attention to it and then guide viewers’ eyes to the more compact area of positive space.

negative space background
Negative space, @franciscoegonzalez

When there is insufficient negative space, the image becomes cluttered and busy, with every component yelling for the viewer’s attention.

No matter what the focal point or topic is, the area around it must be visually arresting. To get the desired effect, a good general rule of thumb is that the negative space should occupy at least 50% of the picture.

Frequently asked Questions

Can I fill the frame with my subject to avoid any background?

The best way to deal with your background is sometimes to fill the entire frame with your subject. By getting close to your subject, you can often get rid of anything in the background that is unnecessary or distracting.

Just be certain that the subject you are trying to shoot will work perfectly with this strategy and that you aren’t removing an important portion of your image.

How can I use my background to tell a story?

Consider such things as the sky and other background components that will help tell a story when framing your subjects.

You can’t tell a person’s story when painting a portrait of them by focusing on just their face or by setting them against an uninteresting background.

In order to tell a story through a photograph, you must have a remarkable background about the setting in which they reside or work. This background should have meaning and life.

How do I show movement in the background?

It is important to choose your camera settings and/or shutter speed carefully if you want to capture movement in your subject or moving background.

What is the most basic way to create contrast in backgrounds?

You can use colors, lights, shadows, or sizes to create contrast. To make the subject stand out, look for backgrounds with contrast. Dramatic images can be produced by using backgrounds that contrast.

What background should I choose to complement my subject?

Colors, interesting backgrounds, contrast, light, clouds, greenery, patterns, lines, etc. can all be used to complement the subject. Make sure that whatever background you choose draws attention to your subject and makes your picture look better.

More to read:
Positive and negative space
The Basics of contrasting colors
What Is Color Harmony
Pattern recognition

What are Background Tips for better Photography? Let us know in the comments.

By Furoore team member Michael
Furoore Team is here to assist you in capturing the most significant moments in your life. To create exciting photographs, discover photography guides, find unique photo ideas, and limitless image inspiration.


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