Simple Fix for Distracting Background Elements in Photos

Whether you’re a professional or just starting out, distracting background elements are something every photographer encounters and must think about before snapping that perfect image. Using a cluttered alley as his example, Toby Gelston demonstrates the ultra-simple measures needed to cover up unwanted background distractions so you can keep your viewers’ attention on what matters:

An alley way can serve as a great outdoor studio, offering interesting lighting and partial shade especially during midday sun. However, it can also be full of unwanted or unsightly distractions.

By shooting at a higher angle, and bringing the subject closer we are able to eliminate a lot of clutter existing at many different heights.


Toby at eye level with 70mm, 1/160, at f/5.0


The camera is tilted upwards and Toby brought forward, resulting in a clean background.

Toby is able to save the great leading lines of the alley, but the trick applies elsewhere. He explains:

“This honestly is the answer 90 percent of the time when you’re shooting a person: fill the frame with the subject.”

But like all things in photography, the key is in practice and experimentation. So get out there, shoot around, and try out different backgrounds, angles, and lenses to remove unwanted background elements.

The camera used in the video demonstration is a Canon EOS 70D.

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One response to “Simple Fix for Distracting Background Elements in Photos”

  1. Daniel Daisy says:

    You’re exactly right. It is necessary to fill up the frame with the subject. It shows the professionalization of the portrait.

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