Annabel Williams Portraiture Masterclass

Location and Background


of the really fun parts of embarking on a portrait shoot is exploring

all the locations that could potentially serve as interesting

environments in which to work. A key consideration is to look for an

interesting setting. The easy option would be to find a ‘clean and

simple’ location, but it’s also worth looking for something a little


photo by Annabel Williams


you look really closely at a location, you’ll begin to see all sorts of

interesting shapes, colours and textures that can produce brilliant

backgrounds,’ says Annabel. ‘I’m always attracted to things like

brickwork and graffiti as these can really give your images a grungy


The key thing is to explore, but that doesn’t mean having

to travel for miles, explains Annabel. Sometimes one location will

provide ample opportunities.
‘It may take a while to find the

perfect background, but keep your eyes open and your mind receptive,’

says Annabel. ‘It could be that your background choice is affected by

your model’s clothes or even the skin tone. Make sure the different

elements complement one another.’

Annabel also suggests

experimenting with depth of field. Having an out-of-focus background can

help to emphasise your subject and make him or her much more


‘When I want an out-of-focus background, I’ll

use a long lens such as a 75-200mm,’ says Annabel, ‘and that’s why I

always have my camera set to f/5.6. This will really bring your subject

out from the background.’

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Camera Settings
  3. 3. The Subjects
  4. 4. Lighting and Composition
  5. 5. Location and Background
  6. 6.
  7. 7. Readers' Images
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