The Set Up
On Sunday I set up some test shots for pro mist filter tests I’m going to do. I ended up with two shots that illustrate the concept of background compression really well. Background compression is when objects in the background appear larger and closer to the subject.
I’m interested in trying the pro mist filter tests with a longer focal length, but the lens I’ve been keeping on my camera (a GH4) is a Lumix G 14mm f/2.5. So I set up a test shot with that to see if I liked the overall lighting and composition. I used a vintage deer with vintage Christmas tree lights in the background. The light hit the deer at a nice angle. And I also really liked the Christmas tree light bokeh.
I decided to put on a lens with a longer focal length and take some more test shots using the lens I’ll likely be using for the pro mist filter tests. The lens I chose was a vintage Nikon 85mm f/1.8 with a Metabones Speed Booster. While using the 85mm lens, I moved my camera back and increased my camera to subject distance. In part, I did this because my 85mm lens is not a macro lens. To get the deer in focus, I had to move my camera farther away from the deer.
Test Shots Illustrating Background Compression
The test shots are a great illustration of the effect of background compression.
In the first shot using the wide angle lens, my camera was close to the deer. The background appears to be farther away and the Christmas tree lights look small.In the second shot, I used a lens with a longer focal length. The background appears to be closer to the deer. Also, the Christmas tree lights appear to be as large as the deer’s head. This shot was taken with a larger distance between the deer and the camera.
Due to the larger camera to subject distance, there is the perception of background compression in the second shot. I found this video that gives a good explanation of background compression in case you want to know more.