Using Environmental Backdrops

Using Environmental Backdrops

An image is so much more than the subject itself but also the environment it is photographed in. Both light quality and backdrop play a huge role in the overall aesthetics of an image. In previous blogs we have explored light quality, today we will look at backdrops.

The first type of backdrops are the kinds we see in photography studios. Muslin, vinyl, and wood in a variety of colors and textures can be used with beautiful results. But these types of backdrops can be pricey, and tricky to set up. They also require space to use and store. Then aside from the logistical challenges they deliver only a certain number of looks. They often give the final image a polished, simple, or classic look. While there are certainly situations when these looks work well, there are others that leave both professional and occasional photographers wanting something more unique. Environmental backgrounds pick up where studio backdrops leave off and give you endless possibilities of colors and shapes to play with. The next time you go to take a picture consider the following.


After choosing your subject and preparing for the shoot the next step is to determine how much of the background will be in focus. If you are using a shallow depth of field and blurring out the background almost completely then color and shape are what you’ll be most concerned about. If you are using a deeper depth of field and keeping everything in focus then you will want to pay careful attention to everything that will go into the shot. In all situations composition is important. So whether it’s circles of color and light or a sharp building in the background know the rules of composition, see previous blogs, and when to break them.


If you’ve determined that your photo will be in color think about what you are trying to achieve with the image. Contrasting colors can place an extra emphasis on the subject. Another fun color scheme it to use various shades of the same color again bringing attention to the subject.


When your background is in focus texture can add a very interesting element to your photos. Products shot on cheese cloth will have an entirely different feel than those shot on granite. Stone, wood, and moss all have very different textures and in different ways all act as interesting backgrounds. Play around with texture taking pictures of the same subject against multiple backgrounds to exercise your creativity and create unique images.

We hope that these ideas can act as a springboard for your creativity. If you would like to chat about photography or how the Burnette Agency can help grow your brand awareness and social media presence please e-mail at or call 404-850-2081