Finding The Best Background For Portrait Photography

Posted June 7, 2021 by in Lifestyle

Portrait photography looks fabulous when you get the background right. Yes, I understand that there are enough backgrounds to pick from every time you have to work. However, they are not all going to fit in with all photoshoot ideas. 

Consequently, to be a successful portrait photographer, you must be able to decipher what backdrop is best every time you hold your camera with a model in front. They play a crucial role in our pictures as they enable us to tell our story in a language that others can easily understand. 

However, we know that picking the right background that blends well with your subject/model can be difficult. Especially as a photography beginner, we fully understand that. That is why we have written this post specifically for you, to help you know key points that would help you select the best backdrop for each portrait. But first, what are different kinds of backgrounds?

Different Types of Portrait Backgrounds

There various types of portrait photography backdrops that you can choose from; the common examples include;

  1. Muslin

Muslin is a popular choice among many photographers. With them, you can achieve a background with a soft textured effect, plus the fabric drapes easily, making it flexible and easily manipulated.

  1. Seamless Paper

This is another popular option; it is affordable and comes in several colors. They are non-reflective, making them easy to work with as they do not tamper with your light settings.

  1. Canvas

Canvas background comes printed or painted; they are very affordable and versatile. Hence, we use it to accomplish different results by manipulating the colors and styles.

  1. Outdoor/indoor Themes

Yes, this is another fantastic backdrop idea. With these, you can create an indoor or outdoor shoot within the photo studio. 

Other background options include

  • Vinyl
  • Tapestries 
  • Colorful curtains, etc.

Tips To Finding The Right Portrait Backgrounds

Having decided on the photo background you want to create your story with, there are certain things you can do to make them stand out the way you desire; these include

  1. The color of the background

This factor is the first most essential point you must put in mind when choosing backgrounds. The color must align with the skin tone of your model and their clothes, complimenting it. You do not want a background color that distracts viewers from focusing on your photo subject. 

  1. Light

Light is another point you should factor in photo shooting; they are the key to creating different photography effects; whether you want a blurred or a detailed account. For this reason, you should angle your light correctly; so, it focuses on the right places. 

You do not want it to be too dark or bright as that would affect your photography subject. For outdoor photography, you can work the natural lighting to your advantage easily. For instance, on cloudy days, you can use an open field to shoot. This tip gives you access to maximum light. On sunny days, you will best look for shaded areas that would capture the lighting on your subject correctly. However, for indoor shots, you can use utilize lighting equipment to achieve what you want.

  1. Use props wisely

Props are essential in photo shoots; however, you should use them wisely to avoid defeating the purpose of the shoot. You don’t want to crowd your background with props; otherwise, they become irrelevant and distracting. If that happens, attention will shift away from your photo subject to the photo props, and this is certainly not what you want. 

  1. Type of background

Background type is another factor you can also consider. Do you want a blurry background or a focused background? If it is a blurred background you want, then the backdrop is not essential. However, if you are after a focused back view, then the photo background matters. You can easily decide this by the story you want to tell.

For example, if you are taking a portrait of a professional chef, then your background can include his kitchen with meals cooking on the gas. 

  1. Purpose of the shoot

The aim of the shoot is also important; for instance, for a fashion photograph, you want a fashionable backdrop that compliments the model significantly. But for a professional portrait, you should go with neutral colors that are not distracting to the eyes.

  1. What mood are you evoking?

One can say a lot about your subject’s disposition by focusing on the color of your backdrop. For instance, a red background evokes the feeling of love and passion from your viewers, while blue can signify wisdom or confidence. 


Figuring out the right photography background is the first step to a fantastic photoshoot result; therefore, you must do all you can to get it right. At first, it might seem stressful and even confusing, but trust me, after a while, you’ll get used to it and make the right decisions moving forward.

However, when you don’t get it right, do not fret. There is photo editing software that would help you sort that out effectively. And don’t forget, you get the option of trying out all the backgrounds before settling on the best fit for your model. To get the best backdrops, Katebackdrop has your back.

*Photos by ATC Comm Photo