Stunning backgrounds

How do you create stunning backgrounds?

If you are at home, place plants behind your subject. Stack them, use more than one plant. Fill in any holes you may have or move your pot to another location in your yard or garden that will help create that stunning background. You can also plan a photography pot when you're planning your garden in the spring. Plant a bunch of plants in one pot, make them different colors, size, foliage and so on. When they start growing they will fill in and provide a lot of variety. I do this a lot, the image above was captured using the same technique. See all the different colors? Look at how smooth the bokeh is. Notice there are no distracting holes. You do need a lens that will shoot a shallow depth of field to get that creamy bokeh, so if you have a macro or other lens you can play with give it a try and see the results. Remember not too busy. Keep your background as smooth and uncomplicated as possible. If you have branches, move, rotate the plant find that sweet spot you're looking for.

If you are shooting inside on a rainy, dreary day try the same thing. Move your subject, set up in front of a window. Look at the light and look at how it's affecting your subject. Make sure you don't have any holes in your background that will take away from your image. Really look at the front, back and sides of your subject find the best composition and bokeh you can and then look again just to make sure you're not missing anything.

Shooting outside can be the most rewarding because you don't have control over the wind, rain and sun. You can minimize them and redirect light but it's difficult to control it. When I'm shooting outside I try to pack my patience. No matter when I go out, I'm usually dealing with some kind of a breeze. I've spent so much time waiting for the breeze to stop just a bit so I can get my shot. I've taken far more images than I would have because I knew if I fired off a bunch one of them would be in focus.

These are some of the things I do and think about when I'm shooting.

The cone flower below was taken in my backyard, I am lucky enough to have trees and beautiful light in the summer. I've never had this before because I've never lived anyplace where the sun sets behind me. The hellebore in the middle was captured on a frosty morning. The sun was shinning and melting the frost creating the most magical scene. The image on the end was created with lots of little plants to create a harmony of color.

I hope you get the chance to play, try creating some beauty this week.

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