When people come to the studio for headshots, they are usually focused on themselves and how they’ll look in the images we produce.
Very few have a strong opinion about what kind of background their photo should have. Often they don’t realize the key role played by a background in even a simple head-and-shoulders image. Your background style, texture and tone will communicate loudly about you and your brand. It should contribute rather than detract from the message you’d like to communicate.
Rather than ask directly, I’ll inquire about the planned use of the image and where it will be displayed. I’ll talk to the subject about their brand in order to understand their industry or their target audience.
Then it’s easy to make a recommendation regarding backgrounds. I’ll typically shoot a variety so that the subject has several options from which to choose.
Maine Headshot uses a variety of seamless paper backdrops. On location, we use either paper or cloth backgrounds. The standard colors are white, gray and black. We also have colors like lilac, green, red and brown.
For many of my corporate clients, gray, black or white are the most common choices. Gray is the most versatile, since merely by adding light (or taking it away) the color can turn white, black or any shade in between. Add a colored gel, and gray can turn any color of the rainbow.
What we don’t have are “scene” backdrops—like a country meadow, a sunset beach or a cozy fireplace. We don’t shoot a lot of textured pattern backgrounds, either, since that looks a bit dated. More common is the use of patterns or screens that we shine light through onto the background, which gives a textured, natural-looking shadow pattern.
We also shoot a lot of “natural” backgrounds, with a brick or plain wall in the background.
Here are some examples of the types of backgrounds we incorporate. If you have something else in mind, just let us know. We can do almost anything and are glad to try something that fits you perfectly. Look below for some of the many examples of background effects available in a studio setting.