UPDATE, JUNE 2024: Strobist was archived in 2021. Here is what I am up to now. -DH


Background Assignment: Discussion

Looking at the background photos posted and tagged to Flickr, two things struck me.

First, we lost some of you, numbers-wise. This was, after all, a more complex photo assignment. But the ones who did participate clearly put more effort and planning into the final product than on the first assignment. And the results show that, for many, it was worth the effort.

You can see the take by clicking here. As usual there are a few that are not popping up. You can see the URLs of the photos in this thread, near the bottom.

A few of you are off about 90 degrees on the vertical/horizontal requirements. But we will just assume for the moment that some horizontal magazines have popped up to showcase your photo...

Leading off is a really nice example of using a background as a dynamic element in a photo. It's not often that a background adds a layer of action, but that's certainly the case here.

Execution on this one was first-rate all around. This photo is shot in shade, but the lighting brings nice directionality to the shot. Click on the photo (and all of the others) to get to it's Flickr page, where you'll get more info in many cases. Check out the larger versions of the photos, too.

This two-light example submitted from Finland had a lot of things going for it, too.

The balance with the ambient was very nice, and the geometric shapes of the building brought strong leading lines into the photo.

I would personally consider losing the artwork on the stairs with a crop, but the photographer made a point of liking it's inclusion. It's a subjective call - either is defensible.

This photo is breaking several rules but I like it anyway. Which doesn't say a lot for rules, I suppose. It was originally a horizontal that was cropped to a vertical for the purposes of this assignment.

Happens in the real world every day - and not always by the photog's choice.

I love the three dimensionality of the photo. It looks as if several lights are working in there when, in fact, it is just one strobe working against the sun. Imagine this photo without the light at camera left to see just how much the ability to use off-camera strobe adds to your arsenal.

This photo is priceless.

The background (and all of the content, really) is very minimalistic, and it works. When in doubt, less is more.

I am not sure how much the strobe at camera right is actually contributing to the light - it is pretty close to the ambient. But the overall light in the photo is just fine, so no qualms about it from this end.

As simple (yet engaging) backgrounds go, I particularly liked this photo, too.

That the color of the subject's clothing coordinates so well with the background is just a bonus.

Planned, or happenstance? Doesn't matter. It works. Take credit for it.

The background is 3-d and 2-d at the same time. Nice choice. And good execution, too.

I don't know what it is about you guys, but it is uncanny the way a couple of you always tend to anticipate a future assignment with one of your photos.

This isn't really what I had in mind for finding a physical background, but it's a beaut.

And do not feel left out - you'll all get the chance to do one of these before it is over.

But there will also be a restriction involved and a kicker (or two...)

And finally, this absolute knockout of a photo from Thailand.

More than just a background/portrait, this doubles as an action shot. You have warm light vs cool background. The strobe fills from the left, while mimicing the color of the fire as a light source. And a slow shutter speed to smooth the water as a kicker.

Wow. I'd love to say that I shot this one.

I stuck a few others in as favorites, and there were many, many other strong pictures. Please continue (and add to) the discussion by posting your thoughts on the Background assignment here.


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