Monday, August 9, 2010

Simple Backgrounds (Basic)

Simplifying the background of a photo often strengthens the photo's composition.  The photo above is a shot of our toddler's art project hanging in my office (taken with a camera phone).  The first time I tried to take the photo, it looked like this:

In my opinion, I thought the composition wasn't so bad.  The shadow from the leaves could perhaps be justified as echoing the chaotic curves of the painting.  But I liked the concept well enough that I thought it was worth strengthening, so I waited the next day to take a similar shot, this time without the shadow of the leaves, to simplify the composition:

I decided to further simplify the composition by removing the larger shadows at the corners, so I waited some more for the shadows to be where I wanted them to be:

In my opinion, the simplification of the background made the composition stronger than either of the previous versions.  This became the final shot (after a little postprocessing).

Recently, I've also tried to be more aware of simple backgrounds and the potential for a stronger composition in photos of our toddler.  It's never easy to control composition with an active toddler but at least choosing the setting can increase the likelihood of a decent photo.

The composition here is flawed because of the cut-off hand (darn!), but this shot illustrates the effect of a simpler background, which in this case also has leading lines.