Reading How to Choose the Best Background for Portraits: 13 Color | Style 9 minutes

How to Choose the Best Background for Portraits: 13 Color | Style

a young girl's headshot by looking through shoulder

It can be challenging to select the right background for portrait photography. The genre requires careful execution, including emphasis on the background color and style used. Also, interest in portrait photography is rising, requiring professionals to evolve and improve in their craft. 

So, how can you stand out from the crowd through your choice of backgrounds? The following article looks at the best background styles and colors for portraits. Read on to discover diverse choices you can use on multiple events 

Which Style is the Best Background for Portraits?

You're spoilt for choices when looking for the best photography styles for your next portrait shoot. Options range from solid colors, patterns, and textured surfaces. 

Here's an in-depth study of the best styles for portrait photography: 

1. Solid Color Backdrops

a pretty girl's portrait by holding flowers

Kate Hot Sale 5x7ft Solid Orange Cloth Backdrop Portrait Photography

Solid color options are a simple and safe option. All needed is to select the right color. The best solid shade should match or complement the following factors. 

  • The complexion of your subject/client.
  • Color of the subject's clothes. 
  • Surroundings, if you're doing an outdoor portrait shoot. 
  • Type of lighting available. 

Additionally, solid versions enhance your theme. For instance, a black background displays a dramatic effect. It also allows the viewer to focus more on the photo subject. Choose a bright option to show freshness in the photos. 

You can spice things up with textured fabric or paper. However, ensure to select a subtle texture. 

2. Natural Background

a baby sitting on chair in front of a flower garden

Kate Secret Garden Backdrop for Photography Designed by Lisa Granden

Nature is perfect, providing options for different themes. It's also excellent if you're simultaneously working with multiple clients. For instance, you can use a park for models, kids, and baby bump portraits. 

A crucial tip is to look for a nice color/textured background. Ensure it's only partially or not busy at all. Also, learn to adapt to changing weather

3. Fine Art Backdrops

little girl holding a bunch of flower and standing in front of a flower background

Kate Fine Art Watercolors Green Florals Abstract Backdrop designed by Veronika Gant

If you want to explore your creativity, fine art backdrops are your answer. The option allows you to experiment with multiple colors, landscapes, and textures. It works perfectly for the following themes:  

  • Model shoots
  • Magazine portraits
  • Sports athletes’ portraits. 
  • Romantic shots. 

If you're a risk taker, these backdrops let you experiment with ideas from fairy tale books or movie scene inspirations. 

4. Abstract Textured Backdrops

bohemian portrait of a woman holding dry plants in hands

Kate Abstract texture beige a little green color Maternity/family photo Backdrop

Abstract textured backdrops allow free-spirited photographers to practice their craft. Unlike in nature portraits where you should carefully select your background, textured varieties allow you to use anything in your surroundings. If you're on the beach, try including swirls of sand, feathers, and leaves in your portrait shot. 

Therefore, abstract textures promote authenticity. This also applies to indoor shoots. Try manipulating your studio lighting to make those texture backgrounds ‘shine’. A well-placed light can create shadows and highlights that'll make your subject pop out. 

5. Bokeh Backdrops

a young girl's portrait with bokeh heart-shaped light

Kate Light Pink Love Heart Glitter Valentine's Day Backdrops for Photography

The Bokeh style of photography is a game changer and different providers like Kate Backdrops offer quality bokeh options. You can get diverse solutions for different portrait themes, adding incredible depth and dreamy features. 

Bokeh backdrops can help elevate the quality of your standard-looking shots. They effortlessly offer fine art and an editorial vibe. 

6. Boho Backdrops

a bohemian photo of a little girl palying with stuffed bear

Kate Summer Boho Bohemian Tapestry Warm Tone Backdrop Designed by Emetselch

The Boho style depicts an artsy energy in your portraits. It comprises of the following artistic features: 

  • Colorful patterns 
  • Vintage touches
  • Natural elements like trees, or flowers.

It conveniently allows the inclusion of props like woven blankets, feathers, or fringe. Additionally, the photo subject can wear vintage, or flowy clothing to improve the final outlook. 

7. Graffiti Wall Backdrops

a girl standing in front of a graffiti tunnel

Kate Graffiti Wall Tunnel Building Backdrop For Photography

Graffiti is another artistic and creative portrait photography solution. Firstly, graffiti backdrops offer vibrant colors and bring the urban vibe closer. 

Meanwhile, your nearest city can have cool graffiti walls. Choose the most relevant version depending on your theme, and ensure your subject is dressed to the occasion. Luckily, this style allows for flexibility in dressing. 

Which Color is Best for Portrait Backgrounds?

So, which color offers the portrait background? Firstly, your theme should dictate your choice of color. However, various options offer choices for different contexts. 

Read on to get the best color for portrait backgrounds:

8. White Backdrop

a young girl's headshot by looking through shoulder

Kate Hot Sale 8x10ft Solid White Cloth Backdrop Portrait Photography

A white backdrop is arguably your most convenient option. It is perfect if you're looking for an airy straight out of a magazine outlook. It is a distraction-free choice, letting your subject's natural beauty/vibrance pop. 

Additionally, white allows for flexibility in clothing. However, advising them on the best option is key, especially when working with kids. Have your subject wear light, flowy fabrics, and you'll achieve an angelic, and ethereal vibe. Your only assignment as the photographer is to ensure your lighting is on point to avoid shadows.

9. Blue Backdrop

male business portrait

Kate Blue Abstract Backdrop for Photography

Blue backdrops offer serene, vibrant, and bold photo results. For instance, light blue is perfect for tranquility, while richer navy tones have luxurious and intimate results. If you're looking for an energetic look, cobalt blue is your answer. 

You can also pair the color with soft, pastel tones on your subject to achieve a relaxed vibe. Additionally, there's an option to go for a glam and editorial backdrop option. This will help achieve a glamorous vibe. 

10. Black Backdrop

a little girl's new year portrait with black background

Kate Hot Sale Solid Black Cloth Portrait Photography Backdrop

You can never go wrong with a black backdrop. The color is dramatic, sophisticated, and high-contrast to make your subjects the stars of the show. However, avoid going overboard if you're not going for a glamorous vibe.

Additionally, the black backdrop is perfect for moody boudoirs or fine art-style portraits. This helps create a sense of drama and mystery. You can add strategic lighting to highlight your subject's features. 

11. Green Backdrop

portrait of a black in white dress

Kate Dark Green Grey Black Texture Abstract Background Painted Backdrop

Green offers a calming and organic outlook. This color is perfect for celebrating your subject's natural radiance. For instance, it's convenient when you want to achieve a cheerful and lighthearted energy. A deeper forest green creates a moody, mysterious atmosphere.

Therefore, lean into those natural, earthy tones by having your subject wear neutrals like creams, browns, and tans. For example, female subjects can wear a colorful dress that'll pop against the lush green tones

12. Yellow Backdrop

man's causal standing photo in front of a yellow background

Kate Yellow Solid Photography Backdrop

A sunny yellow backdrop is your answer if looking for bright and sophisticated portrait photos. It's a vibrant, and cheerful shade, coming in handy when photographing kids. Additionally, it helps put a smile on everyone's face and give your portraits the most delightful sunny disposition. You can pair it with contrasting colors like blue or green for creative and quality results.  

Also, you can experiment with bold patterns, vibrant colors, and anything that screams "fun". For an extra punch, add in some colorful props or accessories.

13. Gray Backdrop

male sitting business portriat with suit

Kate Hot Sale 8x10ft Solid Grey Cloth Backdrop Portrait Photography

Gray is a stylish option and is guaranteed to offer excellent results. The color's backdrop is versatile, making your subjects and any colorful elements pop. For example, light gray options are great for a soft, romantic vibe, while darker shades bring up the drama factor.

Additionally, gray backdrops are perfect if you need to play with the light and shadow. Therefore, it lets you create an editorial, high-fashion look. Also, you shouldn't be afraid to add pops of bold, contrasting colors.

Pro Tips for Backdrop Success

  • If you're a beginner or looking for ways to select the best backdrops, various tips can help you. 

    Follow below to see how you can select a good background:

    • Start simple using neutral colors. They include white, black, or gray backdrops. Try adding You can add different shades through props and outfits.
    • Select a backdrop color that contrasts with your subject's clothing.
    • Ensure your backdrops are always clean, wrinkle-free, and looking posh. You'll be able to get consistent photo results. 
    • If using seamless paper, tightly tape it down to avoid annoying curls or movement mid-shoot.
    • Always take some test shots beforehand to ensure the backdrop vibes just right.


There you have it, it won't be tough to choose your next backdrop. Depending on your theme, the article provides the best options like Kate Backdrops, and offers you tips on how to improve them. This includes ways to combine different colors to achieve the best results. Remember to be creative with aspects like texture and patterns.

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