Think of What’s in the foreground (Day 18 of 31)
Here’s the one photography lesson I clearly remember learning from my father, one of the many photo tips he gave me: Pay attention to what’s in the foreground of your shot. When he could, he always included something in the foreground.
My dad was interested in the composition of his photos, and he was a really good amateur photographer. He read some books on the subject, and he enjoyed learning and applying new techniques. It gives me great pleasure, now that I’m older than he was at the time of our conversation, to have that link to him so clearly etched in my memory.
And it was a solid piece of wisdom; the book he’d read had steered him right. When I was doing my photography degree (at Ryerson, in Toronto) and learning about composition, this was something we discussed quite often.
When an object or person is included in the foreground the photo has a greater sense of depth and dimension, and may give an indication of scale. Lines in the foreground can lead your eye to what’s important in the photo. A sign in the foreground can help you remember where a photo was taken, or add a splash of colour.
Photographer Lee Friedlander welcomed foreground obstructions such as poles and trees as a way of creating visual interest. He explains, “Somebody else could walk two feet away to get those poles and tress and other stuff out of the way, I almost walk two feet to get into it, because it is a part of the game that I play. It isn’t even conscious; I probably just drift into it… its like a found pleasure. You’ve found something that you like and you play with it for the rest of your life.”
It’s something to keep in mind when you’re out wandering with your camera, exploring the world.
(For the month of October 2017, I’m participating in the 31 Days bloggers’ challenge. You can find out about it here, and check out the interesting work other bloggers are posting.)