Original Creative Backgrounds

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by GeneralBenson, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. GeneralBenson

    GeneralBenson TPF Noob!

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    So, I started replying to a thread in the beginners forum about dramatic band photos, then realized that I was about to completely jack it up. I brought it over here because I'm looking for a solid discussion on the creative and original use of backgrounds from experienced people who deal with it frequently. Here's what I was typing into the other thread before I made a new one.

    Or rustic barn doors, walls with old chipping paint, grungy alleys, flower fields, trees...

    I run into the same problems. It seems all these types of backgrounds are soooooo overdone. But then I try thinking of something else to do, and it's hard to get away from them. There's a reason why they're all so worked, they're good. Every time I see some beat up old brick wall and a broken door in it, I'm like, I want to take a picture of some in front of that. But it's so impossible to be original.

    What does everyone do to try and stay original and fresh when coming up with BG ideas for portraits and such? Do you pass up a good BG for the sake of not being trite? Do you just do the same stuff as everyone else because it works so well? Do you just, suck up the fact that there's nothing new under the sun, and try your best to put your own spin on it? Thoughts?
     
  2. Fiendish Astronaut

    Fiendish Astronaut TPF Noob!

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    I think composition, expression and lighting are more important than background. Yes probably everything you can think of had had someone pose in front of it for a camera but it's what you do with the elements within your control that make your image original and creative. Having said all that, I wish I had a better list of places to go to because there's only so much you can do with a brick wall before your creative juices start drying up; and there's no denying the importance of EVERY part of your image.

    Yet creativity flourishes with restriction. Trying to imagine everything there can be in a bid for creativity is very very difficult indeed. Having a background forced upon you might help to squeeze more creativity out of you.
     
  3. DRoberts

    DRoberts TPF Noob!

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    Three basic questions I ask myself concerning backgrounds...
    1. Is the color going to clash with my subject?
    2. Is it to "busy" that it will distract from my subject?
    3. Does it fit with the theme of the shot?

    Generaly these three basics have to be considered in all your shots.
    Fixes to problems include...blurring the background to bring attention to just your subject. Use a nuetral background ( plain colored wall or backdrop).
    However it is becoming really popular and mainstream to go green screen. This makes it very handy to add whatever background you can think of to your shot.
     
  4. CaitlinsCreations

    CaitlinsCreations TPF Noob!

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    I really like those looks--the old door, etc. But you are right--they can get old and a little too cliche'

    Unfortunately, I am kind of limited in my area, so I have about 3 differnt "looks" I can get: the riverwalk, downtown, and the tea gardens. All of these places are great for a photographer, but doing them over and over and over again can stunt your creative growth.

    I try to look at every person as unique and different, and occasionally get someone who can really inspire a different feel and a different look.

    Anyway, to answer your question--No, I wouldn't pass it up. B/c even if you are sick of doing that look, your client will probably look great there, and love it--and making them happy is kind of the point in the end, right? If you are in business anyway. But I do always try my hardest to come up with new, unique, and fun stuff anyway.
     
  5. Alleh Lindquist

    Alleh Lindquist TPF Noob!

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    Just spend time out and about scouting for locations.
     
  6. Breanna

    Breanna TPF Noob!

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    *rolls eyes* at the comment that you quoted. ;) (is wondering if that person was refering to me since I posted shots with both brick walls and trains/train tracks, lol)

    Just work with what you've got. Take a drive around town and keep your eyes peeled. I think industrial areas can be cool, the middle of a field with tall grass, an interesting sky with nothing else in the frame, have the band stand in a body of water (pond, etc...nothing dangerous. haha), an old elevator, a funky stairwell....the options are limitless.
     
  7. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    This is a location i'll be using this year Gary Clarke : photos : Shoot locations- powered by SmugMug

    I like black background with harsh lighting like this one i shot last year
    [​IMG]
     
  8. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I also like black backgrounds, but am NOT averse to using whatever is there. Do what is needed to get the shot. If that means underexposing the background to pure black or blasting it to pure what and anything in between... do what it takes to get it.

    I don't even feed the musicians so that they eat whatever is at hand!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    When ya get right down to it, it's all been done before.

    But, don't despair. I think this may be a cart-before-the-horse sort of approach. First decide what the image will be... what you want it to feel like, THEN go looking for a background.

    -Pete
     
  10. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    And is still used today almost everywhere. :)

    There are 2 attitudes about portrait shots in general. One is that you set everything up in advance and then "place" the final pieces of the puzzle in there (the band members), and shoot away. My personal fav is to look at what is available and use that. If that means challenging locations, lighting can make something look more or less integrated to the picture for varied effects. This is one of the aspects that separate a studio only photographer to someone placed in more diverse and often challenging situations (I am not saying anyone here is one or the other, just generalizing).

    I love studio shooting, its one of my favs, but what they say elsewhere about real estate is true here too... its all about location, location, location, and diversity just rules. :)
     
  11. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Think outside the box.

    Use a church front. Use a grammar school front. Shoot them at a small airport. Got a landfill nearby?
     
  12. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    And it still looks good:thumbup:
     

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