How to incorporate foreground into your images

Many amateur and beginner photographers rarely give much thought to the foreground of their images. For them, the foreground happens, and that isn’t true. Interesting foreground adds to a photo and makes it more interesting. You’ve often incorporated your foreground by actively pursuing it and ensuring that the image has one that adds to the composition. This discussion will look at a few pointers on incorporating the foreground into your pictures.

Find something interesting in the foreground

Foregrounds don’t come on a platter for a photographer. You often have to put in a lot of hard work to scout an interesting foreground. Exciting foregrounds are everywhere: a chair, a bench, a flower bed, or a boat moored on the beach. All you’ve to do is work the scene and discover how to incorporate them into your frame.

Shoot from a lower angle

Most of the time, we’re guilty of shooting from the eye level. While I am not against shooting from the eye level, I recommend trying out options where you can experiment and find a different perspective to exploit. Shooting from a lower angle automatically puts the foreground into play.

Choose the correct aperture to shoot with

Sometimes we’re obsessed with our lenses’ shallow depth of field. We discuss how our best lenses can open up to f/2 or wider for that beautiful background blur. But sometimes we forget that along with the background, our foreground, too, becomes obliterated even if something interesting there using wide open aperture rules out any chances of capturing that foreground element. The solution is to use a smaller aperture and bring more of the frame into perspective.

Focus on the right spot

When you choose a smaller aperture, aim 1/3rds into the frame to ensure the largest depth of field. There is a mathematical rule to – the Hyperfocal distance. But many times, it may not be feasible to use the depth of field calculator to figure out what the focusing distance should be for a particular focal length, subject distance, and aperture. The 1/3rd stop makes much more sense and is a quick and rough way to nail the full focus.

The reason I insist on the largest depth of field is so that you can get the foreground of your subject to be sharp. If the foreground element is prominent yet out of focus, it creates a visual obstruction. The eye of the issue will always wander around and come back to the foreground element, which is out of focus.


Contrast does not always have to be tonal contrast. You can also use subject matter, such as a person or an inanimate object, to create visual contrast in your images. These can be referred to as Conceptual Contrast. Conceptual Contrast is different from the other types of contrast – High Contrast, Low Contrast, Color Contrast, and Tonal Contrast because this is essentially a storytelling concept and convey an idea more than a snapshot. You can depict the difference between objects, their height difference, build, stature, and a host of other aspects using Conceptual Contrast.

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