Avoiding a Messy Background!

Images such as this have the background far enough away to blur, but still give a hint of the habitat beyond. This is how the Great Masters painted backgrounds with just a hint of the scene. Nikon D850, 70-200mm f/2.8, 1/500 @ f/4, ISO 50 © Donna Brok
Images such as this have the background far enough away to blur, but still give a hint of the habitat beyond. This is how the Great Masters painted backgrounds with just a hint of the scene. Nikon D850, 70-200mm f/2.8, 1/500 @ f/4, ISO 50 © Donna Brok

By Donna Brok

What the heck is a messy background, as opposed to a good one, and is it boring?

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Giving Forethought to Foregrounds: Using Foregrounds to Add Visual Interest

Traditional use of foregrounds
Traditional use of foregrounds

Story & photos by F. M. Kearney

The subject matter is intriguing. The light is just right. Everything looks perfect. You’re all set to take the shot, but something seems missing when you look through the viewfinder. It’s the foreground. If the foreground lacks interest, or worse, is non-existent, it can really diminish the aesthetics of a scene. It’s not that the scene is ruined, it’s just significantly less interesting. I’ve foregone photographing many otherwise perfect scenes simply because I could not find an engaging foreground element.

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