Welcome to the composition series!
In this composition series, we're sharing composition techniques you can use when taking your photographs to create more visually interesting images.
So far in our composition series, we've covered two different composition techniques: "rule of thirds" and "leading lines". This week we're going to talk about the use of foreground and framing in the composition of your photos to create more visual interest in your images. We're combining these two because often with the use of foreground, there is a framing effect in the outcome of your image.
Foreground is simply put, the elements of the photo that are in front of your subject. Using foreground in the composition of your photograph further impacts the depth your image communicates to the viewer. It can also be used as another composition technique called "framing" to create a frame around a subject, naturally drawing your eye to the subject within the photograph. You can use anything as foreground: walls, plants, objects, other people, etc.
Here, the bassinet in the foreground of this image creates a framing effect around the baby's face to create more depth and layer to the photograph. It not only creates more depth in the photo, but it also adds meaning. The small suggestions of the bassinet and the hospital bracelet shows this baby is newly born without getting the whole hospital room in the photograph.
In these photos, a wall is used on the left edge of the images. Not only does it layer in front of the subject, framing the image, but it creates an overall candid feel for the photograph. The viewer gets the feeling that the toddlers are leading the action (which they totally are), and it conveys that the photographer is in the background merely observing and following the subject.
This photo combines several composition techniques: leading lines from the back horizon and the right side with the flowers to draw your eye to the subject, framing between these two lines, and foreground with the flowers that are in front of the subject. Taken altogether, this photo has quite the visual impact and creates a whimsical feel for the setting of a boy playing with his dump truck in the sand.
Younger kids especially can be hard to catch with the camera. That's why capturing all the different facets of play can be a great way to document childhood. Here, the main subject are the boys hands.
Getting a child's face in the frame doesn't always have to be the goal! Use foreground elements to draw attention to hands, faces, feet, hair curls, and more by focusing on or past an element in front of the subject. Here a tree is used. You could also use the edge of a bathtub, a book, some grass, a toy, etc.
Oftentimes when shooting, we get frustrated by what is "in the way" of our subject. Rather than working around what might be in front of your subject, try using it as foreground to framing material. Or, instead of shooting a frame filled with your individual only, try finding foreground by moving your body to either side or backing up until an element such as a wall or edge of a bathtub may be used!
We hope that this series has been helpful and inspiring as you continue to practice with your camera in manual mode!
Angela & Kacey