I bought a (digital) background. Now what?

I bet you love backgrounds as much as I do. You adore the brushwork, find the color harmonies pleasing, and think they'd be a perfect compliment to your portraits.

And you're absolutely right! 

But with the amount of choices of backgrounds, there is that debilitating moment of oh crap. How do I USE the backgrounds? 

I'd love to say there is NO WRONG ANSWER, but there sort of are. The foundations of art should be considered. Questions to ask yourself such as do these elements support my overall piece? Think more gestalt, and less detail when approaching background in relation to subject. 

  • Light direction (keep in mind this can be changed with some sometimes minor editing)
  • Contrast (does it compete with my subject in shape and density, in saturation, in tone?)
  • Storytelling (does it support or compete with my subject?)
  • Texture (does it compete with my subject or is it somehow repeated in in brushwork or pattern in my piece?)
  • Color harmony, value, and tone
  • Shapes (do the...
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