Photography Friday: White Background Portraits

There’s a bit of a new craze in the Equine photography world- and that’s a twist on the ‘traditional’ black background portraits- white backgrounds. Now these are nothing new in terms of portraiture, in fact I’ve been a long time fan of Sharon Montrose‘s studio portraits of wildlife and baby animals (seriously- so cute!). But your average equine photographer doesn’t have a studio backdrop large enough to support a subject as large as a horse. And a lot of us, like myself, use only natural light. So while the concept of the white background is similar, a much different technical approach is used.

In some ways, shooting white background images allows for a lot more flexibility than black background. Whereas in a typical shoot I am constantly searching for soft/diffused light or shade, for these images wide open light is best. I allow myself to slightly overexpose the image, and try and fill the frame with sky behind my subject. This generally makes for a very bright, if not white, background, and then edits in post-processing ‘clip the whites’ in the rest of the background- and voila! White background.
I’m still experimenting with poses (I really love the above one, creating depth within the subject sitting on a completely flat background) and how to look at different colors of horses against the white background.

What do you guys think? Are you into this new trend? Prefer black background? Or not a fan of white/black background at all, and prefer natural-environment/outdoor portraits?

10 thoughts on “Photography Friday: White Background Portraits

  1. I really love this! I think May would look awesome on a white background. I think it really allows the eye to focus on the subject. (I would also love a print on a white background to hang in my house, which I probably wouldn’t do with a white background)

  2. I really love the white backgrounds and I really need to set up a date for you to come out and make Tybee look as stunning as the horses in your post!

  3. I love white background portraits! I did some of the hawks and falcons we band a few years ago and they turned out amazingly. I have been wanting to give them a go with my horses but just haven’t made the time for it.

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