|Sometimes a "background" makes a good subject in itself. Here, it's sunrise reflections in a lake surface.|
|The white egret facing right in the background complements the dark heron facing left in the foreground. Try to use background elements to enhance the image, rather than detract from it.||
A Bit About Backgrounds
It's easy to get so wrapped up in your main subject that you don't notice what's going on in the background. Rest assured, the camera will note and duly record whatever falls within the image frame, whether you notice it or not.
Ideally, the background elements should work with the subject to create a coherent "whole" picture. I lieu of that, at least the background shouldn't detract from the overall image.
With fast-moving action subjects, you can't carefully examine the background as you shoot. But you can inspect the background area before you shoot, and move to a different camera position if the background is distracting where you first set up.
Generally, it's best to try to photograph dark subjects against lighter backgrounds, and light subjects against darker backgrounds, but watch your exposure in these situations: Built-in camera meters are easily fooled by bright, dark or contrasty subjects, so it's best to switch to manual exposure mode and read just the subject, increasing the metered exposure by 1.5 stops or so if reading a light subject, or decreasing the exposure 1.5 stops or so if reading a dark subject (bracketing exposure is a good idea here). With the right lighting, you can get good shots of light subjects against light backgrounds, and dark subjects against dark ones.