Why is the background so important in a headshot photo?

Surely the subject is the most important part of a headshot shoot? And yes you’d be right but I put a lot of attention into what is behind the sitter. If it is distracting then that is going to take the viewers attention away their face and onto the distraction. This could be a colour, a large bokeh ball, a person walking behind or even sometimes a white background that is over exposed.

And what background should you have? White, black, grey or even use the location as the backdrop. A white background is a classic and it is very popular because some people think it is timeless. A black background is great for low key portraits that are dramatic and captivating or maybe even a simple grey with a spot or vignette just to bring the viewers eye into the middle.

I’m particularly fond of the on-location background. Why? I think it gives the portrait depth it means I can get a very 3d look to the portrait and makes the face really pop out of the picture. It is perhaps the most challenging background to deal with on a shoot because the light is always changing and that means adjusting the exposure of the camera and the flash to balance it perfectly but when done well it is a winner.

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