Using Foreground Elements To Create Depth

11 October, 2017
11 October, 2017 Matt

Adding extra depth and interest to your photos doesn’t mean that you also need to have any expensive or specialist gear, all you need is just a keen eye and a little imagination when composing your shots.

The one trick I love is to use various elements in the foreground to shoot through while retaining the focus on the subject behind it.

I’ve heard this called things like ‘a frame in a frame’ over time, but no matter what the technical term might be, it has helped me in the past to make photos that may have been bland, into pictures with massive depth.

A while ago, I remembered reading an article by a rather well-known concert photographer (I can’t remember who though), and he said something like including any distracting elements into a photo of a performer was wrong. Apparently, to be ‘worthy’, they had to have clean backgrounds and no distracting features at all.

Of course, I had objections because anyone who has been out to photograph a show at a small venue before will know, those distracting elements are damn hard to dodge! I remember his comments pissed me off at the time and I then started including these things in my pictures in protest.

What I did discover along the way was just how much better my images were! Better? Well, I don’t know if that’s the right word. Interesting? Yeah, that sounds more accurate.

I found that the pictures I take which include the stage ‘distractions’ give more depth and help to give the viewer context and it’s these elements that help the viewer’s engagement solidify.

Regardless of my opinions, this should be a technique you keep in mind when you’re out shooting the next wedding, family session, visit to the zoo or concert. If you feel as though you need to mix things up a little bit, then look for elements to shoot through.

You’ll find it not only helps to add depth to your photos but it will also assist in drawing the focus to your subject, and the best part is that you don’t need to buy any extra gear to make it happen.

Get out there and experiment with your shots and if you feel comfortable, I’d love to see some of them in the comments section below.

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Comments (3)

  1. Tess

    This is really great Matt !!!! As a fellow photographer I honestly find something new to get my teeth into every day. And now you have supplied my next lesson!!!! Cheers

    • That’s fantastic to hear Tess. I hope you have some fun exploring this and please come back to show some of your results.

      If you need any help with anything, you know where to find me. 😉

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