This tutorial is from chapter 5 of the Simple Digital Photography book by Rob Sheppard. Visit Wiley
for more information.
The foreground of your photo can make the difference between success and failure for a picture. The foreground is simply the area in front of your subject that is seen by your camera. Often photographers simply focus so much on the subject that they do not even see the problems and challenges of the foreground. Foregrounds can complement a subject or they can distract and detract from it. You always have the choice.
Use the foreground for depth
When you have a strong foreground to your photo, the image looks deeper. A photograph is a flat, two-dimensional object that tries to reflect a three-dimensional world. A good foreground creates and defines a relationship from close to far so that your composition has a feeling of three dimensions.
Look for a frame
A quick and easy way of using your foreground is to look for a frame that will control what the viewer sees of the subject and background. This can be as simple as an interesting tree branch across the top of the photo. Or it can be an opening in a building or a rock formation that gives a view of your subject.
Get close and shoot through a foreground
You cannot always get a foreground that is sharp. You can use that challenge as an opportunity for a better photo. Get up close to the foreground and shoot through it, almost like you would shoot through a frame, but use a telephoto setting on your zoom
to make the foreground soft and not sharp.
Use a wide-angle view and tilt down
Often, photographers shoot a scene with a wide-angle lens
to get it all in and then put the horizon right in the middle of the picture. Try, instead, to tilt the camera down so that you see the foreground better and then move to find something interesting in the foreground that you can include in your photo.