Photo Subject Blends into the Background

This problem crops up often when you’re photographing wildlife. Animals like deer and some birds use the natural foliage as camouflage. They tend to congregate in areas that closely match their coloration. Alert photographers notice the shape of the animal and take a picture.

The resulting photograph doesn’t do a good job of depicting the animal because it fades into the background. You have three possible solutions for this problem:

  • Wait patiently until the animal moves to an area where it doesn’t blend in with the background. The danger is that you'll lose the shot because the animal gets spooked by your presence and bolts.

  • Move to a slightly different position. Look for a spot that places the animal against a slightly different backdrop and hope that the animal doesn’t dart away while you’re moving.

  • Shoot wide open — that is, use the largest aperture of your lens. If the animal or bird is far enough away from the background, your subject will be in sharp focus and the background won’t, which makes it easy to spot the animal or bird in the resulting photograph.

If you choose the last option, make sure you focus on the eye that is closest to the camera. If the eye isn’t in focus, you’ve lost the shot.

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