Using Ordinary Objects in the Foreground to Create Interesting Images

During the film era people would often use different tools, such as prisms, to create new and interesting images. Without the use of tools like Lightroom and Photoshop, camera malfunctions, such as light leaks could be very valuable in creating unique art. Perhaps its time to remanufacture these ideas, and use them to help create something truly interesting.

Chicago based photographer, Luke Schneider is doing just that. By using his make up artists mirror, bottles of lotion from his stylists, and other objects found laying around, Luke is able to play with depth of field and focal planes to create interesting and intimate images.

Luke writes -- “I often use things in front of part of the lens as foreground blur. I feel that it is an effective way of not only drawing attention to a specific spot in the frame (because the rest of the frame is just a wash of color) but it also adds an intimate feel to the overall image, as if you are kind of peeking around a street lamp or something to observe the subjects of the frame.”




Crediting his love for fashion photography and the works of Patrick Demarchelier, Peter Lindbergh and Mario Testino,  Luke got the idea from browsing the work of others for inspiration.

“I saw Patrick Demarchelier's Spring/Summer 2013 campaign with Cara Delevingne and saw a similar wash effect used, but inside the wash there was also a reflection of something that looked to be either behind the camera or across the street. I'm not really one for extensive photoshop manipulation, I do skin processing, dodge and burn, and I do a lot of toning work to get images where I want them to be but I frankly don't have the skillset to do much in terms of manipulation and I didn't really want to deal with double exposures. So I thought I'd try my foreground blur trick (that I usually use colored lotion bottles for), but I thought I'd try it with a mirror in front.”

The new experimenting with foreground objects worked, getting Luke a recent editorial spread in XEX magazine, a fashion and art magazine from New York. Be sure to check the Behind the Scenes video above to get a glimpse into how it was done, and look at the editorial piece for more information regarding the shoot.

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Dude, those pants. But hey, I'm stealing this idea anyway haha!

"Bow to your sinsei!"

Zach Sutton's picture

"Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months."

--Oscar Wilde

- Its a sarong
- I know its so wrong, but whats it called?

harem pants

Spy Black's picture

She makes up for it by being such a wonderful distraction...

As strange as it sounds, I've been doing this in all of my portrait sessions for years using planted flowers (I'm a wedding photographer give me a break!) and the like, but for whatever reason it never crossed my mind to actually carry something with me to be able to use it whenever I needed it.

Sometimes I'm not a bright boy, but there's nothing like getting smacked in the head with a realization that you've been doing it wrong for quite a while.

stefano druetta's picture

there's no such thing as wrong : )

Ive been doing this for years... Shooting through glass buildings/car windscreens or around corners almost peeking.

Shooting through flowers works well too.

Heavily inspired by Emily Soto too, as she often drops flower petals and other items in front of the lens while shooting.

What hideous clothes..!

I like the mirror effect the most, but I guess you have to be careful not to overdo it and use it as a crutch.

Randy Curtis jr's picture


Brett Blignaut's picture

The dude model looks like quite a character.
Love the effect the mirror gives, will definitely try it out.

Fstoppers featured an article on using a prism for achieving this look in Feb, courtesy of photographer, Sam Hurd. Does the same thing but lets you blend in the 2nd image better as if you were doing a double exposure.

I still can't figure out how you did this, how do you blend the two images together? I tried, but I guess I'm doing it all wrong cause I failed terribly at it. Would I be able to do this with double exposure instead of the mirrors?