Using Line and texture to make stronger images.

One of the biggest hurdles in photography is the fact the majestic three-dimensional scene before us, can only be rendered into a mere two-dimensional image and the physical depth that we experience in real life is lost. To reconstruct this spacious feeling, we can create the illusion of depth where there is none, by using strong elements in the foreground.

When we make a photograph, our natural urge is to obtain an unobstructed view of the main subject, or " fill the frame" without other objects getting between it and the lens. But if we were to  consider using something in the foreground, our image can become much more powerful. 

If used with consideration this technique can be the footsteps that will take us into the image.

 

WHAT IS THE FOREGROUND

We can often divide many landscapes into three areas-  foreground, mid-ground, and background. For example, the scene below contains some grasses in the foreground, the derelict building in the mid-ground, and the mountains in the background. 

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A foreground is the part of a scene that is nearest to and in front of the photographer. In a sense, it is the stuff that is right at your feet. 

The foreground, mid-ground, and background areas are not at fixed distances but are to be understood relative to each other. The foreground consists of anything that lies between you and your subject, which is typically considered to be in the mid-ground. The background is made up of everything behind the subject.

You can draw some similarities between a landscape image and that of a stage: you have the upstage – that’s the background. It gives setting and context to what happens below it. Center stage is the mid-ground, where the bulk of the action takes place. But downstage – the foreground – this is the area closest to the viewers. Here is where the intimate points of interest may be uncovered by whispering and luring the audience into the show.  

Foreground elements can even be made of simple shapes, lines or textures.  In some cases, your foreground elements may be nothing but these.

Leading lines, in liking to the markings on a stretch of road, the waves running up the beach or the ripples in the sand defined by shadows, cast by the rising or setting sun across a desert. Anything that forms a line or gives a sense of drawing the viewer towards the subject can be especially effective and if available, we should use these to our advantage.

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The corners of the frame are especially strong points. Anything that leads inwards from them will have a particular impact.

 

Some work - Some don't.

Use a foreground that relates to and enhances your overall composition. For this photo, I found an interesting foreground by waiting for an incoming wave to create the leading lines and also texture against the black sand. By selecting a relatively long shutter speed, the motion of the water blurred during the exposure, creating the foreground where there otherwise was none.

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Leading lines can make compelling foregrounds, leading your eye to explore the composition .

Leading lines, in particular, can be very compelling as foregrounds, encouraging the viewer to explore the composition and creating a high level of visual engagement.  Like any other compositional element, they create shapes, lines, and have texture, details that can lead the viewer’s eye through the image and maybe used to enhance its visual impact. 

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Use leading foreground elements to direct the viewer’s attention deep into the composition

 

IN CONCLUSION

Although you don’t need to include a foreground in every photograph you make, you will find that foregrounds can add considerable depth to your landscape compositions. When you use a foreground, it helps establish a visual relationship between the front and  back of the photograph, creating a sense of  depth, which is key for leading the viewer’s eye through the scene and retaining there attention.