Background is the king

I was occasionally getting frustrating with the backgrounds for my tomato images for Saturday’s Pizza garden project. Moving the pots around to catch the right view of the grass below my deck or to avoid dark green construction elements of the deck. But the background problem became impossible to solve in any “natural” way when I finally decided to go out and photograph the wild flowers which I planted in front of the house. It is just a small, narrow flower bed, with rocks behind it. This is the best I was getting. Even with tight frame, just focus on the flower, I was not getting even background, and I find the difference between staircase and stones really distracting.

Then, I remembered the ingenious background idea I found sometime ago on Tiny Landscapes blog, run by Mike Moats, a macro photographer from Michigan. It took some time for the right images to be taken, but last weekend, I finally prepared the files and printed 11×14 images, and attached them to the foamboards leftover from a few years ago, when i thought I can do my own mounting :). You can see how out of focus are the images, by comparing them to the texture of the floor I placed them on to take the picture.

This is a starter to my collection of backdrops. As you can see, none of them is plain and uniform in color. In fact, I have one just green, in even color, but it just do not work all that well. I noticed quickly that patterns and shades in those backdrops make for more interesting images. I did not have a chance to use the red one yet, it is just too overpowering for most images. But I am planning to use it to contrast with still green tomatos. Meantime, take a look at the same yellow daisy as above, this time on the blue background of cloudy sky. Added bonus of introducing background this way? You not only control it, but you can also increase your aperture, without worrying that something growing behind your subject will draw attention from it. And smaller aperture means more sharp image, easier to capture. With tripod, that is, because it will increase your shutter speed, for sure.

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