There are no rules about how much detail is suitable for a portrait background. For my work, I try to use a background to give a sense of place or just a bit of context without overpowering the subject.
It my personal visual recipe. Unlike a cookbook, these measurements and amounts are subjective.
This portrait in the Meat Packing District shows a background with a dash of brick and a pinch of rollup door. These visual elements, like spices, render tangible results with just a little input.
Don’t forget that too much of a good thing is still too much.
About the author: I am Stephen Kennedy, an experienced photographer with more than 2500 completed sessions in all 50 US states.