Thorson Photo School: Background

Since having a baby (Hold on did I mention I’ve had a baby? Only like a million times) I’ve had a lot of friends say things like “Oh you’re so lucky to have all these beautiful photos of Walt” and “I wish I could take beautiful photos of my baby too”. Well you’re in luck, I’m going to show you how! The principles I’m going to teach you will also work with lots of different subjects, so even if you don’t have children this is for you. Today we’re going to be talking about backgrounds, it’s probably one of the simplest ways to improve your photos quickly. With a phone we have no control over aperture (the thing that makes the background fuzzy and out of focus) and so the easiest way to make your subject stand out is to keep the background plain, think blank walls or bedspreads. The images I’m going to be using today as examples are taken of Walt laying on our couch, it’s a little textured, but nothing over the top. The other thing to think about is light, I’ll be going into more detail on this subject in a later post, so for now make sure you choose a location that is well lit and where the light is even. Shady spots are usually best, avoid really bright locations by windows. Also remember to tap on your subjects face on the screen, this insures you get a correct exposure, the more information you give your phone about what it’s photographing the better your images will be. 1. Don’t be afraid to take lots of photos, you know all those people you follow on Instagram? The ones who have amazing photos? Most likely they took 30 or more photos to get that one perfect shot (I took more than pictured below). how to take good iPhone pictures 2. Choose your favourite. IMG_1015 3. Edit. Now I know this can be intimidating, but what’s the worst thing that happens? You make it look worse than it did originally? Fun fact: you can just start again! To start off with you’ll want a good app. I personally use the VSCO app because I love the look of film it gives you and also the editing control. The easiest place to start is with a preset, T1 is my favourite VSCO colour preset. IMG_1016 Next I change the temperature, sharpen, adjust the exposure and do a couple of other little tricks. I’ll go more into detail another day when we focus on editing, for now just experiment a little on your own. IMG_1017 IMG_1018 IMG_1019 4. Final image. Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset The key points to remember are choose a simple background so your subject is the focus and make sure you’re photographing in even light. I’d love to see how you go with your photos, if you post them to social media make sure you use the #thorsonphotoschool hashtag.


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

July 13, 2015 at 6:28 am

Thanks so much for being so generous and sharing. 🙂

July 13, 2015 at 6:46 am
– In reply to: Jenny

Oh I’m not being generous…didn’t I mention that I expect payment in doughnuts from everyone who reads the post? 😛

The Stirlreply
July 13, 2015 at 8:46 am

Good post, however I must admit that I (and the one other person I polled) prefer the original colours to the edited image on my phone screen!

July 14, 2015 at 3:41 am
– In reply to: The Stirl

That’s the great thing about what I teaching you, not to make your photos look exactly the same as mine…but to give you the skills for you to improve your own images! As I mentioned in the post I have a favourite preset when I edit and obviously after your comments yours won’t be that one :), but there are heaps of other amazing ones to choose from. Or maybe you don’t want to use a filter or editing at all, you could just improve your composition to make your photos look better…whatever works for you!

Leave a reply