On World Photography Day, I offered a unique opportunity for my blog readers to share their photographs for review.
The process of review was so beautiful and so satisfying that I was amazed to see so many talented photographers following my blog. I am so thankful my blog readers!
At the same time, it opened up an opportunity to know what is lacking in lot of photographs that I reviewed. Most important element that was lacking in many photographs was Composition.
Strong compositions are definitely not so easy to achieve just by reading few concepts here and there. It requires enormous amount of practice and retrospection.
It’s a lifelong learning process for any Photographer no matter how popular the Photographer is!
There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept ― Ansel Adams
I feel learning it step by step, one composition technique at a time will make you make great photographs.
Many photographs that I reviewed were lacking foreground element.
Let us discuss the importance of foreground in Photography especially in Landscapes, Seascapes and Waterscapes.
How to Create Depth using Foreground?
Just include a foreground object in your photograph! Believe me, it’s that simple!
What is your primary goal of photographing a subject?
- Is it Beautiful?
- Is it Colorful?
- Is it Noteworthy?
We are attracted to a subject/object due to one or several factors mentioned above. We would like to photograph it and want to take that memorable instance back home or show it to the world. Isn’t it?
We concentrate on composing the photograph so that we cover the main subject of interest in the best possible way. That’s fantastic!
But remember that we are trying to distill a 3-dimensional reality into a 2-dimensional photograph. It will invariably lack the impact when you finally take it home. You won’t get the same feeling that you got when you looked at the scene. Because the photograph is inherently flat!
The reason is clear. In the process of photographing, you forgot to create the depth. The easiest way to create the depth is to use a foreground object.
What is a foreground object? Anything that is in front of the main object!
Would any foreground object do?
Yes and No. If you want to create just the depth, then yes. But if you want to make it a compositional element which creates visual interest in the photograph, then no!
How to Create Visual Interest using Foreground?
If the foreground object is visually interesting to hold the viewers attention and direct him/her towards to the main subject of interest, then you have made a photograph worth viewing!
Remember that you are photographing a main subject/object because it is visually interesting to you. This is quite obvious!
But you have to find the foreground to create the much needed depth in the scene intentionally. This means, it is your job to find a visually interesting foreground now!
There are thousands and thousands of them in nature. You just have to look for them.
Let us look at some of the most obvious ones.
- Rocks and their interesting textures in a stream
- Shells/Pebbles in the Sea shore
- Small flowers in the mountain range
- Fossils in the Beaches/Islands
- Small trees or plants in a grand scene
- Fallen leaves in a forest
And the list goes on.
Just remember that, most often, you have to go low with a wide angle lens to exaggerate the foreground element (which is usually small). It is usually the texture, details, and color in the foreground elements that creates the visual interest.
Keep the Foreground Object Sharp
It is probably clear by now that you need to have the foreground object as sharp as possible in the photograph.
Because the foreground object is the closest element to the viewer. It better be sharp. Otherwise, the entire photograph would be ruined no matter how beautiful the main subject of interest is!
Yes…I know what you are thinking! Having a blurred foreground to make the subject stand out is a valid case. But let us keep it for another day!
Always remember one thing:
An expensive Camera and a super sharp Lens would only help you make a sharp photograph. It’s invariably the light and composition that makes a great photograph
Invest your time and energy (which is much cheaper option than buying a new camera or lens) in learning and practicing the composition techniques. It will help you throughout your lifetime no matter which camera or the lens you use.
What are the key composition techniques that you apply often in your photography? Which composition technique(s) helped you achieve great results?