Photography Cheat Sheet: Clutter-Free Backgrounds for Great Snaps

Get great portrait, still life, and outdoor shots by taking away distractions from backgrounds using tips from today’s photography cheat sheet.

Ever felt that a shot would have been perfect if not for distracting element in the background? Can’t cut off or blur an annoying element behind your subject? Sometimes, it’s hard to avoid cluttered and distracting backgrounds, but taking the time to pay extra attention to it will give you the best results. With tips from today’s featured cheat sheet, you’ll be able to make sure your subjects are set against the best backdrops possible.

As mentioned in the cheat sheet below by Digital Camera World, we sometimes forget to check the scene for potentially distracting backgrounds, especially when we’re in a hurry to take the shot. This often leads to cluttered backgrounds ruining an otherwise great shot. Sometimes, small adjustments in compositions and angles will take care of this. But to be really thorough about this, we often have to pay attention to the rest of the scene for what we can avoid or remove before taking the shot.

For starters, you can do a good scan around the scene while peering through the viewfinder as you compose or before you press the shutter. This will quickly address obvious distractions like telephone poles, signs, or branches sticking out of heads when shooting portraits. Apart from these, you also need to be mindful of other distracting elements like bright reflections or patches of sunlight that can create burned out areas on your photo. If you’re shooting at night, bright streetlights and signs can create flares and ruin the background. Avoid bright, glaring colors in the background as they take away attention to your subject. 

For shoots that you have full control over, like studio sessions and outdoor family portraits, you have more room to think about the background first. Compose your shots with an angle that avoids distracting elements. Some of these are typically found along the horizon, so try shooting upwards if it makes for an interesting shot, or fill the frame to squeeze out any of these unwanted elements. 

Need more photography tips and tricks like this? Don’t forget to check out our photography cheat sheet collection to find more that will come in handy for your next shoot and projects!