How to Get Foregrounds Right in Photography

1. Check your Foreground before Hitting the Shutter Release
Check your foreground for distracting elements but also move your camera around a little to see what you’re missing from your foreground that could add something to your shot. You see good foregrounds don’t just happen. Sometimes you have to search them out and make them happen.

2. Get Down Low
One of the strategies that many landscape photographers use when trying to accentuate their foreground is to lower the height that they take their image from. Crouch down and/or lower your tripod and you’ll find the perspective of your shots can be changed quite remarkably.

3. Raise your Horizon
Similarly when you change the positioning of the horizon you change the influence that a foreground has on the image. Most people naturally place horizons in the middle of a frame but they tend to do better along one of the horizontal ‘thirds lines’. If you place it on the bottom third line you tend to emphasize the sky in your shot – however when you put the horizon on the top third line you accentuate the foreground. Either can work of course – depending upon what’s going on in the sky or foreground but if you have an interesting foreground you’ll generally want a higher horizon.

4. Use Leading Lines
Another very effective strategy with foregrounds is to look for ‘leading lines’ that will draw the viewer’s eyes into your image. They’re usually vertical lines (sometimes with a diagonal direction) of some kind. Leading lines could be actual lines but they might also be objects, patterns or shapes that create flow from the bottom edge of the imaged up into the main part of the frame.

5. Aperture
Depending upon the type of image and the effect that you’re after – you’ll probably want to use a reasonably small aperture (a larger number) in order to have a large depth of field. This will keep as much of the image in focus as possible (from your foreground and into the background).

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