The Importance of Foreground in Landscape Photography

Landscape photographers often deal with vast, expansive scenes, and as such, they need to think about many different areas and layers of the frame. This excellent video discusses the importance of adding foreground elements to your landscape photos and how they can improve your images. 

Coming to you from Chris Sale, this great video discusses the usage of foreground elements in landscape photography. One of the reasons it is so important to consider foreground elements in landscape work is a consequence of the fact that the genre often uses wide angle lenses. If you have ever taken a shot using a wide angle lens without an element in the foreground, you may have noticed the resulting image seemed a bit empty, as if the background was just a wall with a lot of empty space in front of it. Adding a foreground element can lead the viewer's eye into the frame, and with careful positioning, give them a natural path on which to travel through the image. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Sale.

And if you really want to dive into landscape photography, check out "Photographing The World 1: Landscape Photography and Post-Processing with Elia Locardi." 

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This narrow mindset can become tiresome. There's a reason why so much landscape photography looks the same, just follow the recipe: Use a wide angle lens at f/16, shoot at sunrise or sunset, put a prominent object in the foreground, and place everything according to the rule of thirds. Bingo! Do it right and you'll surely get all of the instagram likes your heart desires. (Boy, I sure sound like a grumpy curmudgeon, but I digress). There are instances where a prominent foreground is appropriate, but not always. There are also some more subtle ways to a achieve depth. Sorry for the rant. I need to go brew some chamomile tea and listen to some Pauline Oliveros.

I live in central Arizona not far from the red rock cliffs of the Mogollan Rim and the canyons of two Colorado rivers. I have an Arizona Highways calendar on my office wall. I remember first runs of epic westerns and Lawrence of Arabia. They all depict the vast empty space of the desert that abruptly ends with a wall or a person standing, riding on a horizon that may roll farther. Sometimes empty space is what is.