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How to Shoot Powerful Foregrounds


I love shooting foregrounds in my big vista landscapes but it has taken quite a while to find out the things that work well and what doesn’t. I still don’t think I have mastered it but really enjoy the challenge of going out and finding a powerful foreground. In this article, I wanted to share the things that I believe have the biggest impact on creating great shots like this.

Foregrounds can make an ordinary scene look amazing and with a few simple tips and tricks, you can start to improve your photos with the gear you already own. I tend to shoot them with an ultra-wide-angle 14-30mm zoom on my Nikon Z7 but the 24mm end of a 24-70mm is more than good enough.

So, how do I go about finding and shooting foregrounds?

Point Your Camera Down

When using a wide-angle lens and shooting foregrounds it is really important to point the camera down. I like shooting vertically and getting right over the top of the subject like this image.

Consider the Height That You Shoot At

Shooting at different heights has a huge impact on the outcome of a scene. It also helps with the final point below, connecting the foreground and distance.

Start with Simple Foregrounds

Like most things in photography, simplicity is best. I think that is even more important in the foreground as you tend to read an image from the bottom up. I was attracted to this frosty foreground in Iceland in the morning blue hour.

Think About Patterns

Patterns look great in foregrounds. Look for repeating patterns in the grass, rocks, sand or whatever you are shooting.

Find Something Special

My favorite type of foregrounds are the most powerful ones where you have something a little bit special. It may be some foliage like this fern or a rock that stands out. Be careful about the surroundings and make sure there are no distractions.

Midground Matters

Connect the foreground to the distance. As I have already mentioned the height you shoot at can make a big difference. Think about the foreground connection through the mid-ground to the distance.

Check out the video at the top for more examples of how you can go and shoot some powerful foregrounds.

P.S. If you enjoyed this video and article, you can find more by subscribing to my YouTube channel.

About the author: Nigel Danson is a landscape photographer based in the UK. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Danson’s work on his website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.