Sunday, October 28, 2012

Background Color For Portraits

One of the most common questions I get is: What do I use for backgrounds when I’m taking full face portraits?

Well, the first thing to think about is the texture of the background. Texture? Yes, it is super important. If you have a wall painted with semi-gloss or gloss, your images will look terrible regardless of the color. If you have distracting texture like wallpaper, regardless of color, it won’t look good. Consider eggshell as a paint finish. It works great.

Just as an aside, for almost all orthodontic offices, a synched backlight is used. It eliminates shadows, and though very clinical and not very pretty, it is the standard in ortho.

For everyone else, we’ve got to think of a color. Too light washes out the patient and too dark may blend in with the skin color of some patients, as well as dark hair. Traditionally, dentists have liked neutral colors like taupe, and that’s what I’ve used for years, but I am no longer a fan.  They tend to wash out the patient’s color.
Taupe Dental Photography Background
It’s very unflattering and washes out the patient’s complexion
Avoid whenever possible

Other doctors like blue, but I find it too distracting and the coolness tends to take away from the patient. Plus, in my humble opinion, it’s very dated. Think circa 1997.

I switched to a dark burnt orange about 4 years ago and it made a huge difference in my images. No matter the patient’s skin color, it contrasts very nicely and the warmth is nice for the overall image.

Burnt orange flatters all skin and hair colors
Give it a try. You’ll love the way your images look

One last point.  Simply paint a wall the right color. Don’t try to use poster board and hang it behind the patient. I’m a fan of less work and invariably the stored poster board gets screwed up somehow. However, you can have a background on a roller like they do in professional photography studios and it can work very nicely.

Great backgrounds make for great portraits and that can help you market your practice with some of your beautiful final results.

Best Wishes,


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