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One of the easiest things to overlook when you are creating your photo-sets and videos is the background. It’s so easy to get caught up in what you want the viewer to see, that it’s all you see when you are giving your media a critical eye.  While this is definitely understandable, it’s unfortunately not all your viewer actually sees. A lot goes into making an impression of a video or photo that you look at, and most of it happens on an unconscious level.

One of the biggest factors that forms a positive or negative impression of a picture that you are looking at is the background. The background of a photo gives context, and provides a sort of human experience to be gained from looking at it. What sort of context does the background in your photos give to your image and brand?

Nothing says “real girl” like a messy room, or a bathroom mirror right? But what about last nights take out sitting on the coffee table? Toothpaste on the mirror? Nice touch. Or the top of the toilet photo bombing that cute selfie you just took? It gets worse. Admit it. 😛 It’s funny, and quirky, except for when it’s not really in line with what you are trying to present.

Now, it gets a little tricky, because completely sanitizing your backgrounds to be nothing but a blank wall might work well for one or two sets, but as any experienced model will tell you, a blank set is the hardest set to model.  Many girls make the mistake of throwing up a dark curtain, or a white sheet, and then photographing themselves in front of it in repetitive poses, not knowing that this will often make things worse and not better. Blank backgrounds have to be done right. The lighting and aperture need to be set so that the background in these scenarios all but disappear, leaving the focus and responsibility entirely on the model.

A few tips to take into account when you are taking your photos, and making your videos regarding background.

1. take a picture of JUST the background you plan on using before you  start shooting. Analyze the feel of your space critically, and remove anything that doesn’t lend anything helpful to your final shot.

2. Clean up, but not too much. Unless you want your shots to look like they were staged then you will want to keep elements of your set looking natural, and lived in. Especially if the idea is to project that real girl vibe.  Just remember, messy is sometimes ok. Dirty never is. If you are going to be taking pictures on your carpet, then make sure it’s not stained, or otherwise all messed up looking. Photoshop is your friend here. If you miss something setting up, it is usually easy to spot correct as necessary as long as you took some time beforehand to take this kind of thing into consideration.

3. Analyze the color pallet of your background.  What are the predominant colors you see? Do they go with, or clash with what you are wearing? This one tip will often be the difference between something that works, and something that doesn’t.

4. Learn to achieve depth of field. Most of the time, you want the background of your photo to be more blurry than the subject. This is mostly impossible, or very difficult to achieve with cam photos, so be aware of that.  Good depth of field can take a cluttered and distracting background, and turn it into pleasing diffused shapes and colors. Definitely a plus if you aren’t working with the best of spaces to shoot in.

Experiment with these tips, and let us know how it worked out for you in the comments.