Last few days, we have been talking about photographic composition, storytelling and lighting.
Now we turn the discussion towards prop styling.
In talking about props, one of the first props that comes to mind is the background. Today we will talk about selecting a background and types of backgrounds that are available.
Background has many characteristics. It has color, texture, pattern and reflectivity, to name a few.
Let's take an example with only one of these characteristic - Color. In the photo below, take a look at subject and arrangement. These four photos are very similar if not identical. One difference is the color of background.
Let's explore the subject of backgrounds a bit more. We'll talk about types of backgrounds and steps to select your background.
Types of Backgrounds
Several types of backgrounds can be used in your food photos. Often these backgrounds are available in your own home and you don’t need to buy any material. Here are some commonly used backgrounds:
- Foam board
- Wooden boards
- Baking sheet
- Flooring material
What else have you used for background in your food photograph? Tell us in the comments below.
Now that you know what all options are available, how do you select the right background for your next food photograph?
How to Select the Right Background
First and foremost, the purpose of background is to support the photograph. This means you need to decide few things about the background. Here are those things:
Background Color – Decide what color background do you want? After using that color, how does the story you want to tell through a photograph change?
Background Pattern – Is the background free of distractions? Or are you planning to use a polka dot table cover that will act as a background? What will keep the focus on the story you want to tell?
Background Texture – Texture provides a unique character to the food photos. We all have seen photos with old decayed backgrounds. How does that make you feel?
Contradicts or Complements – Does the background overall support the story you wrote? or does it contradicts? If your story is about an fresh morning and a early morning breakfast, will choosing a dark grungy decayed background support that story?
So you get the idea.. Now about today’s assignment -
Read the entire assignment before you pick up your camera.
Time estimated: 30-60 mins
Step 1 – Today again, select the subject. Ideally use the same food subject, you have been using last couple of days.
Step 2 – Set up the food subject as you like, if possible, like you set it up yesterday. What background did you use yesterday?
Step 3 – Before starting to take photo, wait. Take 10 mins to survey your home and note anything you find in your home. Share your list in the comments section below and tell us if you found something surprising.
Step 4 – Take a photograph with the same background you’ve been using.
Step 5 – Now change the background and take another photograph.
Step 6 - Repeat Step 5, until you are exhausted of options on background. (At least make an attempt to find four different backgrounds.)
Step 7 – Again, compare these photos just like you did yesterday. Recall your story and the specific elements we discussed earlier. Which one of these photos compares closely with your story? If none does, that’s okay too.
Step 8 – Upload the best photo/s on Lesson 12 Album on the new Facebook Group. If you are not a member of thefacebook group, you will not be able to view the album. Request access from the FB Group page.