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How to Use the Foreground to Create Depth in Landscape Photos


Sometimes a beautiful landscape scene doesn’t look as good on camera as it did to your eye, but that’s because translating a 3-dimensional scene into a 2-dimensional space is challenging. Using strong foreground elements in your composition is one way to create depth and counter this problem, as shown in this 8-minute tutorial from Nature TTL.

There are a huge number of different rules and compositional guides you can adhere to, but one lesser-known rule is the “Rule of Odds.”

This suggests using an odd number of objects in your foreground, as the eye tends to find itself being drawn to the middle one. This means that you can use objects as stepping stones, drawing the eye into the image.

The ultimate goal is to “lead the viewer on a path around the shot,” and that can be doing using carefully chosen foreground elements.

Another thing to think about is introducing a “lead-in line,” which more obviously points the viewer through the image.

This can be further emphasized through motion, which in itself can create interesting foreground elements.

An incoming tide benefitted the above scene by creating separation of the pieces of rock, and a slow shutter speed smoothed out the movement nicely.

Check out the full video above for more composition tips, including instruction on how to properly focus when including foreground in your landscape photos. For more nature photography tutorials, you can subscribe to the Nature TTL channel.

Full Disclosure: I own and run the Nature TTL channel.