How to take better photos of your henna series Part 2

Choosing backgrounds quickly

One of the best things about digital photography is that you can take numerous photos in a short amount of time, without having to develop the film.  A photo that you don’t like can easily be erased forever, while a photo you do like can be kept forever. 

An easy way to choose a background is to clear away the clutter from the background.  With henna being so intricate, it is important to keep your background as simple as possible.  You want your background to add to the mood and message of your photo, not be the main focus.  Clearing away the clutter from the background will help focus on your henna work in its “natural” environment.  For example, taking away the clutter from a henna photo at a wedding party will help the henna design pop out, even if the only thing showing in the background are bright colors or bangles. 

Another easy background is to use a scarf, cloth, pillow or furniture as your background.  Whatever you choose as the background, it will naturally fall in with your photos mood.  For example, if you are doing henna at a park, you can easily use the picnic blanket or a park bench as your background.  When doing henna at home, you can simply use your area run, counter or floor as the background.

Another example is to use whatever is close by and purposely place it in the background of your subject to help deliver the message of your photo.  In the previous example, we utilized a Buddha statue in the background to help deliver the message of balance and peace in the mandala henna design on the knee.  Another example is of using the fireplace to deliver the message of comfort and warmth in the henna soles photo. 

A fourth easy background is to use a solid color.  Using white as the background portrays a sense of clean, simple, and sterile, while using a pattern in the background can depict party, entertaining, or spontaneous.  

A simple to use background is to use nature and the outdoors as the background.  You can use the grass for easy feet designs, or a flower bed for hand/arm/shoulder designs.  These portray a sense of natural and organic when you have nature in your background.  Another example is to use the beach or the mountains as your background.  Having the beach may portray a sense of vacation, relaxation, and heat, while having mountains in the background may portray a sense of adventure or exploring new things.  You can also use planks on a boardwalk, a bed of rocks, or a concrete sidewalk as backgrounds.  

Whatever your situation, it is important to make sure you are able to choose your background quickly.  Chances are, unless you have a planned photo shoot, your subject will not have the patience to sit through one, and taking a snap of your work should not be hard work.  It should depict your hard work of applying henna, but also set the mood and message of your photo quickly.  

Next week, we will go over how to position your subject for photo taking.  Until then, happy hennaing!