September 7, 2011

#35 – Build a list of brilliant backgrounds.

I just knew you’d come in handy.

I’m in the car on my way to Best Buy last night when I notice the sky. It’s one of those flaming sunsets on one side, mixed with crazy dramatic clouds on the other. It’s got all the makings of a killer photo, except for the fact that I’m sitting in the Best Buy parking lot. It’s nice enough, but it’s not really the most photogenic place on the planet.

Luckily, I’ve built up a small list of locations in my town – locations where I know the background will make a killer good portrait, landscape or abstract. There are locations that I light professionally and others that look great at different times of the day. As the sun threatened to disappear off the horizon, I knew what I had to do --  go find the tree.

There’s this tree a couple of blocks from my place that I knew would look perfect in the right light. Last night provided the right light. I just needed to gun the car and get there while I still could.

I had my point-and-shoot with me, flipped it on over to “M” for manual mode and played around with the shutter speed, aperture and ISO, clicking between each change until I had something I liked. In the end, the tree did just what I thought it would – made my photo look superb.

Build your list of backgrounds and pull it out when the light’s right or when inspiration strikes:

  • Shady places for portraits
  • Cool patterns for behind subjects
  • Big locations for cloud-filled landscapes

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