Every photograph is made up of multiple elements and each element is either a detractor or a supporter. It’s our job as visual artists to determine which way those elements go. When it comes to the background, the background can be many different things and still work there really isn’t a rule saying you can use that one or the other. Visually if it works, it works. Being able to see that when taking the image is the challenge.
When it comes to aircraft, usually the background sucks. There is usually a hundred and one different things in the background that are distracting to the rest of the story. Now sometimes you can get away with it because the subject is so eye catching that you tune out the rest. Like this Monocoupe 110 Special at the Dakota Territory Air Museum. The yellow paint job just screams out at you so it’s hard to focus on anything else. But if you look closely there is a Waco QCF under the right wing, pulling your eye back and the big hangar in the corner which is the museum. Granted the skyline isn’t super clear but since it’s black the eye doesn’t stop there. Just remember to remove any vertical lines because the minds eye gets stuck on those.
Image Captured with Nikon D4, 24-70 AF-S, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film