Friday, November 1, 2013

Watch Your Back

by Deanna 

I know this has probably been said before, but I am here to say it again, because I apparently need to hear this again and again.  Watch what is going on behind your subject.  Sometimes whatever it is blends nicely with your subject, sometimes not so much.  Sometimes I get so engrossed with my subject that I simply forget that important step.  After checking your white balance, your exposure, your ISO, your aperature, your shutter speed, you forget that last crucial step.  Is there a tree growing out of your subject's head?  How many times have I done that to a poor soul.  I have the perfect everything else, only to download it and discover that darn tree or light fixture or whatever popping up in the worst spot.  You would think that with the amount of pictures I have taken over the last 4 of 5 years that this would become second nature to me, but no, I am still very capable of growing that tree or putting that lamp in the most inopportune spot.  It usually is as simple as moving your body one way or the other to eliminate the problem.  

Here is a prime example of how a little movement on my part would have eliminated this....


Here is an example of a simple movement that changed the over-all look of the whole image. Notice the sign in the first image, by moving and re-focusing, the background now has a cleaner look.


And on this same note....if you are using a wide open aperature (blurry background....small number) LOOK for something behind your subject that may enhance your photo.  I specifically did this yesterday when I went to the Arboretum to gather more photos of our absolutely gorgeous Fall season.  I liked the look of this dark green (which was a building) against the lone hanging leaf.  


Here is another leaf against this same green building....it just makes those fall colors pop with that background.


And along this same line, watch when taking photos during a grey day, when the skies are almost white. Sometimes the white sky eventho it may have alot of that pretty bokeh could become distracting.  I am notorious in doing this.  Sometimes it just can't be helped.  Especially if you have limited time for taking a nature shot.  Our Falls are usually so brief that I go out in any weather, just to be able to capture the beauty of the reds, oranges, golds & yellows, and sometimes I have to live without those beautiful blue skies and settle for a white sky in order to capture that moment.  


I would much rather see a pretty blue sky than an ugly white one, so consider the sky also when you are snapping those nature shots.  But sometimes it just can't be avoided.  


Whether you are shooting landscapes, nature, people or still life's, backgrounds can either enhance or distract,...just "watch your back."  

Now that we have come to the end of another month (again, and so quickly) we have a new Monthly Focus for November and a challenge to accompany this month's Focus.  Please click on the "Monthly Focus" tab to read all about it....hint, it has something to do with gratitude.    





18 comments:

Patricia Stein said...

Thanks for sharing your tips and the beautiful autumn photos.

Carol said...

These photos are beautiful Deanna! And this is a major tip - who doesn't forget this sometimes?

As for the journal challenge - I have decided to take my 30 with my "big-girl camera" only. I love IG - and it makes it easier to post,etc, but I also love paging through the Flickr gallery on a Saturday morning and seeing everyone's beautiful work - here and elsewhere! So, personally - I am going to challenge myself that way. (This is not part of the challenge for our readers - it's just something I want to do!) So happy gratitude everyone!

Jeanne said...

Great shots, and all very good pointers. I have been very grateful many times for photoshop when those lamps are growing out of someones head. Good old clone tool and voila! Gone. These shots are beautiful.

leigh said...

Great tips Deanna! This happens to me all the time and I"m trying to be more aware of my background.

Linda said...

This is a reminder that I know about but seem to forget it too often! It is as simple as moving my feet! Your photos are gorgeous!

terriporter said...

Oh, my gosh, this is something that used to happen to me all the time until I made a concerted effort to look around the frame and see what was in the background before pushing the shutter button. As Jeanne said, Photoshop has bailed me out on this one more times than I care to count! But it's so much easier if I avoid the problem in the first place. As always, your fall photos are gorgeous! Especially love the fall pumpkins piled up against the pot of flowers. Thanks for sharing this tip.

Viv@within the Frame said...

Oh the number of times ! Thanks for the timely reminder .

Dotti said...

This is an important reminder for any of us who practice the art of photography. Painters can just brush in any background they wish. True, Photoshop can save our hides most of the time, but the photos are so much nicer if we just take a moment to breathe and do it correctly when we push that shutter button. Thanks for this great reminder ... particularly as we head to the holidays when we'll be shooting indoors more often where the background challenge is even greater!

Barbara said...

Oh I've done that so many times, have to be more aware of my backgrounds. Thank you for sharing this great tip.

Roxi -Coppercurls Designs said...

I have finally got in the habit of looking past my subject. We've had a lot of white sky days here lately, not that common for us, but fall has finally arrived in the south.

Kim Stevens said...

Great minds Deanna . . . I was just out this morning taking photos for this very subject - back to the drawing board! rofl

This is a great reminder and one we all forget when we are concentrating on our subject at hand. I took a photo this summer of my niece doing some cheer jumps. The background seemed like it all blended together, it was a lot of trees, but afterwards I realized that as she was jumping 5 feet off the ground there was a tree trunk coming out at the most unflattering spot - thankfully it was easy to clone out!! Beautiful photos!

Barb said...

I'll think of you the next time a pillar is growing out of a person's head, Deanna! Love those final little heart leaves fluttering against the pale blue backdrop. It's snowing hard, and I think my only sky today will be white.

Terri Buster said...

Great tips, glad I stopped by. I've already checked out the monthly focus..planning on doing that on my blog this month.

Sarah Huizenga said...

Thank you, such a good reminder. I am so guilty of getting caught up in my subject and forgetting to look beyond.

Lisa Gordon said...

Excellent tips, and beautiful photographs, Deanna!

Katie said...

wonderful reminders, deanna, and gorgeous shots!

Barb Brookbank said...

All awesome tips! and lovely photos!

Anita Johnson said...

Well, the watch your back slogan might help me. I TRY to, but sometimes I upload my pictures and think, why didn't you check the background! Sometimes I think the LCD screen isn't my friend. The photos and backgrounds look better there sometime. Good reminders in this post!

Post a Comment

Thank you for sharing part of your day with us. If for any reason you are unable to leave a comment here on this post, please leave your comment on our Facebook page or in our Flickr discussion group. We love hearing from you!

 
© Focusing On Life