Hide Cluttered Backgrounds In Your Photos

By Sep 9, 2015No Comments

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It can be a challenge to take good photos if you do most of your blog photography at home. That’s definitely the case for me! I have two very young children, and I seem to be domestically challenged, so keeping the house clean is a constant chore. What I’ve learned through parenting, and really through photography and blogging, is that you don’t have to keep your house clean all the time! (However if you do, that is fantastic, and what’s your secret?) You want to make sure that everything in your photos is there to tell your story, and not to distract from it. So what do you do?

You learn to first notice, and then hide clutter from your photos!

Photography Tips | Learn how to hide clutter in the background of your photos - includes an easy to follow video tutorial for photo editing.

Hide Cluttered Backgrounds In Your Photos

If you know you’re going to take a picture of your kids baking, doing a craft, playing in their room, or jumping off the couch, take five minutes to put all the clutter out of the frame of the photo. That’s right – you don’t even have to put it away!

Just get it out of the picture itself. Throw it in the hall, a closet, the bathroom, a bedroom, or anywhere that isn’t in the photo. You’ll be surprised at how removing a few simple distractions can really draw your readers in and help them see exactly what you want to see – rather than your dirty laundry sitting on a chair!

Want to see what a photo can look like if you don’t move the clutter first?

Does your house look cluttered on a normal day? So does mine! But I try to keep the clutter out of my photos. Here's how I do it!

Amazing, isn’t it? And I AM a real estate photographer, as well as a lifestyle family photographer. So I really do have to be thinking about when clutter tells a story, and when it just distracts and looks like a big, old mess! There are some instances in which I would let the clutter fly. In other instances, it’s too distracting for me!

Since you now know to look for clutter and to hide it, if necessary, another practice I use is to choose a different angle. This was the same day, and only a few minutes after the original photo was taken, and I found an angle that hid all of the clutter from the other side of the room, but still told the story of what my son was up to.

Sometimes keeping the clutter out of your photographs is as easy as shooting from a different angle. You would't know it from this picture, but behind that wall is a whole lot of toys and mess.

Then I found an even different way to hide clutter! Get in closer!

Want to avoid all the clutter in your house showing up in your picture? Get in close on your subject. This is my favorite, work-free way to declutter my home in photos.

My daughter wanted in on the action and I found a way to photograph her, and still without too much clutter!

Choosing your angle carefully isn't just great for keeping clutter and mess out of your pictures, it also makes your pictures interesting and more fun!

Our house is never totally neat, but I like to show at least some order in photos.

So what do you do if you have taken the photos already, and can’t or don’t have time to retake them, but there is distracting clutter in your photos? In those cases, you can turn to Photoshop or Lightroom to remove clutter with cloning tools, the healing brushes, patch tools or even more advanced tools.

If you would like to see more examples, check out one easy step to make your photos look professional and how to use Lightroom to remove distractions in photos. Courtney has a great video tutorial here for removing objects:

 You have to pick and choose how to tell your own story. In this photo, I enjoyed the more spontaneous nature of it, and I didn’t even mind the clutter, but I decided that the water bottle distracted my eyes away from the rest:

Sometimes a little clutter in the room fits in with the story you are telling. I liked some of the clutter in this picture, but the water bottle was distracting.

So I used the technique in Courtney’s video to remove just the water bottle. It still shows our chaotic life, which is ok because this was a lifestyle shoot, but there was an element in there that was too distracting to tell my story!

After I removed the water bottle from this photo, I was happy with the overall look - cluttered counter and all!

You make the rules with your own photography, but keep in mind what background elements will add to your photos, or take away from them. A good practice is to visit other blogs and other photos and see where your eyes wander when you look at a photo. Does your eye go directly to the intended subject, or are you finding other objects holding your attention?

About Tamara Bowman

Tamara is a professional photographer, a mama of two, a writer/blogger and a nearly professional cookie taster. She has been known to be all four of those things at all hours of the day and night. She is a very proud contributor to the book, The Mother Of All Meltdowns. After two cross country moves, due to her intense Bi-Coastal Disorder, she lives with her husband, daughter and son in glorious western Massachusetts. She spends her spare time looking for moose, taking pictures of her kids, and maybe – just maybe – teaching them about photography. She can be found on Facebook @Tamara Camera Photography, Twitter @TamaraCamPhoto , Instagram @TamaraCameraPhoto , and Pinterest @Tamara Camera Photography & Blog and on her blog @Tamara Camera Blog.