I’m back on one of my favorite topics- foreground. But this time I’m not going to write so much about the value of foreground ( adds drama, impact, balance to your photography) but more on getting close and really emphasizing the foreground. This is one of the most common mistakes that I notice in landscape photography- yes there is foreground but the photographer is not close again. Let me show you some examples-

The Scene

Here is the scene- Boothbay Harbor, Maine, late afternoon. I’m on a bridge with colorful kayaks on a float below me. Yes the kayaks are foreground and they add some nice color to the shot but the foreground is not compelling, there is no impact. Solution? Get closer!









on the float

Much better!  There is a feeling of being right there on the float. I call these types of pictures participatory images because it looks and feels like the viewer could participate in the scene. To get this look you have to use a wide angle lens (18mm – 24mm is best), a very small f-stop (f16 or f22) and you have to tilt your camera down toward the foreground. When you point your camera down you will notice that the foreground is drawn in toward the camera and the background rises in the viewfinder. The effect is that the image appears to start right at the feet of the photographer and go for miles.








Now this is impact! See how you get the feeling of almost sitting on the kayaks? The trick is to take the extra effort and move in really close. It’s not always the case but often, the closer you get to the foreground the better the photograph is going to be.


So next time you are photographing a scene that includes foreground take your normal shot and then stop and move in even closer. I think you will find that your pictures will improve.