The background plays a huge role in setting the mood or look for any portrait photograph, and especially so with senior portraits, as you have a whole lot of variables to consider. Depending on what kind of portrait you and the subject have in mind, you can select from a wide range of backgrounds. Here are some tips that will help you select the perfect background for your senior portrait photograph.
Personality of the subject
While selecting the background keep in mind the nature of your subject. For sporty seniors, you could use a basketball court or soccer ground as the background. For girls, if you are opting for a soft feminine portrait, choose something like a meadow, farm, vineyard or field of flowers. For guys or tomboyish girls where you want a more dramatic or tough look, use abandoned buildings, railway tracks, dirt road, or vehicles as backdrops.
Indoor or outdoor
Decide whether you want an indoor or outdoor portrait. Indoor senior portrait photographs can be done in a studio, the school, or at home. For outdoor portraits, you have a greater variety of backgrounds to select from – an urban setting, a farm, beach, sports field, and so on.
The colors in the background should reflect the theme you have in mind for the portrait. Colorful backgrounds like tall green grass, trees, or wild flowers work as great backdrops for feminine senior portraits, while brown or grey makes for a good background for guys’ portraits.
Day or night
Again this would depend on the look you want for the portrait. Daytime photography works well in an outdoor background like a field or a farm and will give you brighter and happier looking portraits. Nighttime portraits have a more dramatic and intense feel and work best in a more urban background like a street or a basketball court. If you choose to shoot at night, make sure you have proper ambient light as well as flash and check out the angle that best reflects your subject’s features.
If you are going for a specific theme, select a background that goes with it. A field of wild flowers with your subject wearing a dainty dress and a crown of fresh flowers would be perfect for a flower princess themed portrait. Get an action portrait of a sports star senior on the track field or soccer ground. For theme-based senior portrait photographs, get creative with the background so that it adds to the photograph.
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