I couldn’t wait to rush home and load my photos into the computer.  It had been a great day at the zoo photographing animals.  The light was right, the animals were active and I know I got some great photos.  Wait!  What’s that in the background?  OMG, how did I miss that?

We’ve all been there. We have a great shot, but…something in the background that we didn’t notice while shooting is now staring us in the face.  If you are a Photoshop guru, you might be able to save an image that has been ruined by an object in the background.  But most of us better learn to watch that background when we are shooting.

The best defense against being photobombed by a bad background is really paying attention while you are shooting.  What do you mean, Ron?  That’s the tip?  Don’t let things creep into the background to begin with?  I can’t control what’s back there.  Yes, you can and sometimes it doesn’t require all that much to fix in the camera.

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Hyena shot with lovely port-o-potty in the background.

I was at the Denver Zoo and the hyenas were moving all around.  My first shots were great until I reviewed them in the camera and saw a port-o-potty in the background.  That’s not a pretty picture to begin with, but certainly not in a wildlife shot.

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Hyena after moving 2 steps left and a cleaner background.

It only took two steps to the left to completely remove that distraction from my photo.  So the tip is to stay aware of the background and move around.  A few feet left or right can keep the subject and remove distractions from the background.  Even bending down and shooting from a low angle can help remove objects in the frame.

So always take time to review not just the subject but everything around it while taking photos.  It can save a lot of disappointment when you are at the computer later.