How To Identify Good Foregrounds for Landscape Photographs

Foreground interest is fundamental to landscape photography, even if not always required for a great image. But how do you effectively identify a viable foreground for your images?

I always caveat my articles on landscape photography with "I'm not a landscape photographer." It's not because I never take any, I don't enjoy them, or I haven't taken a few good ones in my time, but rather because it isn't my primary focus. The reason it isn't my primary focus might be my love for other genres, particularly portraiture which I find engaging to shoot and view, but it also is likely due to where I live being utterly void of interest. Had I been able to travel more frequently when I first started photography, perhaps this would be a different story.

Incidentally, this was my first well received landscape, well over a decade ago now. I was driving around looking for foreground interest to complete a nice composition of the stormy sunset, but finally, out of frustration, I etched the words on a box so that I didn't return home empty handed.

In fact, this video is on a topic I've discussed before and one that pushed me away from landscape photography rather quickly in the early days: foreground interest. Mark Denney talks in this video about the importance of the foreground in a landscape image, but more importantly, how to identify what will make a strong foreground for your landscape. Denney says he hasn't seen much about this subject, and I can't disagree. I became tremendously frustrated with working out either how to weave a foreground into a good landscape scene, or finding a foreground that would improve the scene as a whole. This video is great for giving you some rules on how to tackle that.

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