Skip to main content
K12 LibreTexts

3.5: Distracting Backgrounds

  • Page ID
    3131
  • This lesson will help you learn and practice avoiding Distracting Backgrounds. In Get the Basics, you'll get explanations and photos to build understanding. In Explore, you'll find additional online resources to learn more. It's important to review and learn from these resources also! You'll have opportunities to practice in Build Your Skills. Finally, answer the questions in Record Your findings at the end of this topic. Be sure to include information you learned from the Explore resources.


    Get the Basics

    Often, you concentrate so much on the subject of a photo, you forget the background - the area around and behind the subject. The background can complement, or distract from, the photo. If the background is busy, or a tree branch appears to grow out of your subject’s head, the result isn’t going to be a good photo.

    One way to clear up a distracting background is to zoom in on the subject. This creates less area around the subject to distract the eye. In this example, the bleachers, pole, and trees distract the eye from focusing on the subject, the people. The matching photo corrects this by zooming in.

    fans in the bleacher

    Another way to clear up a distracting background is to changing the background. The easiest way to do this is to change the direction from which you are shooting the photo. Here's an example where the pool tools, play structure and house distract from the people in the pool. The matching photo fixes this by changing the shooting direction as well as by zooming in.

    composite of two photos: people in a pool and close up of child in a pool


    Explore

    Check out more about distracting backgrounds at Five Ways Backgrounds Make or Break Photos from the Digital Photography School:
    http://www.digital-photography-school.com/5-ways-backgrounds-make-or-break-photos

    So far you've learned two ways to fix distracting backgrounds. Now, learn more ways to fix distracting backgrounds at 9 Tips for Getting Backgrounds Right from the Digital Photography School:
    http://digital-photography-school.com/getting-backgrounds-right/


    Build Your Skills

    Shoot four or more pairs of photos. For the first photo in each pair, keep a distracting background. For the second photo in each pair, apply one of the methods you've learned to fix the distracting background. In at least one pair of photos, fix the distracting background by zooming in. In at least one other pair of photos, fix it by changing the direction you use to shoot the photo.

    Compare your distracting background photo pairs. Select FOUR pairs. Share your photo pairs with your teacher, and be prepared to discuss how they show what you’ve learned. Download your photos to a computer to keep them for the portfolio you’ll create in the end-of-course final project.


    Record Your Findings

    • How can a distracting background hurt a photo?
    • What are some things that can make an photo’s background distracting?
    • Describe three or more ways to correct a distracting background.

    References

    Image Reference Attributions

    [Figure 1]

    Credit: Fling93; October 28, 2006
    Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/fling93/293881039/

    [Figure 2]

    Credit: Sheree Kozel-La Ha; August 7, 2010; Alec Couros; February 6, 2009
    Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sheree11/4785284276/ ; https://www.flickr.com/photos/courosa/3259483406/
    • Was this article helpful?