I'm in the process of putting a site together. I have very limited knowledge regarding Photoshop (but I am trying!!).

The site is being built to display some images of mine. I'm a photographer by day, programmer by night. The portrait images do not take up the entire width of the screen. I therefore need a nice background gradient for them.

As you can see here, the background color is currently a blank -> grey gradient. I'm asking you now, quite simply, what color would look best on this site?

If you have any other suggestions, such as, "you should change the sidebar color", I'm completely open to that as well. However, my main questions is regarding the background color to be used.

  • Am I missing something? I click (your really poorly functional menu) to find "portraits" and I get a photo of a building. I click next, I get a bride photo. The bride is narrower than the area, but I don't see any background gradient. I click next.. I get nothing but a spinner.
    – Scott
    Mar 6, 2012 at 18:26
  • Don't click on the menu - just stay on the main page. You'll see a portrait image. Thanks for the menu comment though, really not necessary in my opinion.
    – Evan
    Mar 6, 2012 at 18:40
  • Well I see no background gradient at all. (Chrome 18) I see the page background texture.
    – Scott
    Mar 6, 2012 at 18:44
  • That is the most up to date "background" I have - it's an image. What do you think of the color scheme? What might you change it to? These are the kind of thoughts I'm looking for. I appreciate your time by the way.
    – Evan
    Mar 6, 2012 at 18:45

1 Answer 1


There are good reasons why 99% of photography showcase sites stick with a very plain, dark, neutral background. In the first place, if you're displaying color images, a dark background will let the colors show most vividly (a light background reduces visual contrast and tends to slightly wash out color), and a neutral background won't ever clash or interfere with the colors in an image. The same considerations obtain as in making the kind of portfolio book you might have in your studio reception or waiting room.

Black and white images tend to look their best against a light, neutral background, which affords maximum contrast to the blacks in the image.

In general, if you're going to use a texture or gradient, keep it subtle. You want the visitor to focus on the image, not be distracted by a visually obtrusive background. (This is exactly the same consideration set you bring to a photograph: focus attention on the subject, remove distractions.)

  • I think this is a wonderful answer, definitely what I was looking for. I have updated my background image - the current one does not have the "Intense" cross-hair pattern. Is this more of what you were referring to? The site URL is: nanisolutions.us/wordpress I appreciate your help, Alan.
    – Evan
    Mar 6, 2012 at 22:46
  • Yes, exactly. For any site where the imagery is the content, everything else should be subdued. Mar 6, 2012 at 22:52

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