As the titled says, what is the easiest colour background to take pictures against?

For example:

White backgrounds require additional lighting to over expose them. Black backgrounds require a lot of distance between them and no spill. Grey backgrounds are susceptible to shadows.

If you need to quickly setup a backdrop for portraits in a small space, which colour will require the least amount of technical understanding?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Do you mean... Easiest to post process/photoshop?? \$\endgroup\$
    – BBking
    Nov 24, 2015 at 10:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think that the "easiness" of TAKING pictures depends on the background colour. So please clarify what you are asking. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zenit
    Nov 24, 2015 at 10:21

1 Answer 1


The answer depends on the purpose of the photos. As you've already discovered, each color has its own effect and quirks. Adequate lighting that does not create unwanted shadows is going to be essential with any kind of background, because those shadows will also manifest on subject.

Background and lighting for passport or other document pictures is usually regulated and light gray is usually a safe bet. Refer to guidelines provided by the receiving authority.

For more beauty-oriented memorabilia, I would look for complementary color of the subject. Most often, the subject is a face, with tone ranging somewhere between dark brown and yellowish pink; complementary colors then fall into some bluish shade, from teal to purple. For ladies with bright red lips, dark green would be a nice complement. I would also prefer a darker background, as light areas steal attention and show shadows more clearly.

But if you aim for the true meaning of portraiture, really portraying the subject, there is no universal answer. By definition, a portrait should underline the personality of subject, and background has to be selected accordingly. The natural environment for subject without any backdrop might work the best.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.