Background Deconstruction

Drop out, cut out, strip out, outline, silhouette and deep etch.

These are just some of the technical phrases that I’ve heard from design, pre-press and production professionals over the years pertaining to the removal a subject from a background in a photograph.

Everybody has their reasons for doing this though it’s always a compromise of some sort.

My work has been chopped up since I started at age 15. Every commercial artist will face this prospect if they’re in the game for keeps. It’s just part of the process and it’s what I get paid for at the end of the day.

Some photographs just won’t hold up to outlining. This one is a perfect example of an image that is not a candidate for surgery. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t allow it to happen, but it does mean that it would cost someone a lot to do so.

To quote my friend James Russell, “I charge more for ugly.”

About the author: I am Stephen Kennedy, an experienced photographer specializing in creating environmental on-location portraits and corporate photo libraries for blue chip companies.