Photography Backgrounds for Bonsai photography
Welcome to hints and tips on bondsai photography. I have described below some hints and tips on using backgrounds when photographing bonsai.
Sometimes there is a bit of trial and error when taking these photos but with digital photography you can experiment much more freely.
If you start off with some basic goals to achieve when photographing bonsai you can improve each goal as you learn and practice. For example your first goal might be to nicely frame the bonsai without distractions behind it. So to do this a background is a great help. Read on to learn more about backgrounds.
Background general tips about backgrounds for use in Bonsai photography
The background is not the star of the image, the main goals for the background are to compliment the tree and composition, remove or hide distractions from the background and to allow the eye to focus on the bonsai first. You should;
ensure the background is of an adequate size to suit the largest bonsai you intend to photograph
make sure your backgrounds are clean and do not detract from your tree
remove unwanted creases and folds in any background material before shooting
ensure the background colour and texture is in keeping with the tree
ensure the any background seasonal colours match flower and foliage of the tree
Ideally backgrounds should flow from the foreground under the tree and up and back in a graceful curve
Otherwise for starters a piece of black card behind smaller bonsais may be enough.
You can use plain backgrounds to help define the focal point of the image, ideally the bonsai, as opposed to the miriad of things which may exist in the background. For example this background paper rolls over a cross bar at the back, rolls down and below the bonsai and off the front of the table. Secured at top and bottom and on top of a sturdy table.
Background supports- How to hold the background up.
You can use professional supports. These come in portable and fixed solutions.
Portable versions include two tripod/light stands with a horizontal bar across the two.
Fixed versions are normally attached to a wall and roll up like a blind.
You can use pegs/clips/clamps to hold it to a secure attachment
You can use a curtain rail type arrangement.
Basically the background and holder needs to be secure and level so it will allow you to present the background without creases and will not fall on your tree and camera or people.
For small items you can use a pop up photo tent which gives soft all-round light with a a generally white background.
Different ways to drop the background for bonsai photography
The simplest way to place the background is straight behind the bonsai vertically up and down. This can be done with various different materials.
3) Foam with material strung over it
4) Photography backdrop material on a frame.
Here is an example of how backdrop material could hang over the frame with just a plan vertical drop. Using this method you will see some of the table surface as well, depending on how you frame the image.
Example of Vertical backdrop straight to the floor.
Another way to place the background is using a curve from the back onto the table and then over the table and curving down over the front of the table.
This gives more gentle transitions at two points, where the table would normally meet the back ground and the front of the table.
Here is an example of how the background could curve. Note: in both cases the backgrounds should be secured with the appropriate clips or fixings at the top of the bars.