You see foreground all around you but while composing a shot, you often do not include it in the photograph besides it being an important part of the overall feel and mood of the photograph. You almost always start your photograph with the subject as the nearest element in the frame. Often a lot of important is given to the background with an attempt to keep it out of focus or to show bokeh. Including Foreground helps us know a lot about the photograph and its environment. The foreground can add a lot of aspects to the photograph revealing its characteristic or unfolding a story -giving a clue about the main subject, many a times.
A very effective technique for improved compositions is the use of a strong foreground. You will see that in many of the interesting photographs without actually realising the fact that a foreground has been included. It works well for almost any subject. You can make your subject the strong foreground element, with the background creating an interesting environment behind it; or you can use a strong foreground as a frame that creates depth and compositional impact because of the relationship of the foreground to the background. besides a frame, the foreground can say a lot about the main subject or the environment around the subject.
It also breaks away from an amateur approach of always keeping the subject as the nearest element from the camera.
You can shoot with a generous of depth of field so that the foreground and background are both sharp. You can also create a much different effect by making a foreground framing element out of focus so that it strongly contrasts with the sharp subject in the background. What may not always work is to have the foreground with an “in-between” focus that is neither out of focus nor really in focus (though it can be okay to have a foreground subject sharp and a background not quite as sharp).
Environment and mood
While the transparency of the leaves adds to the mood of the photograph it also leads the eye to the subject. An advertising shoot for Blankets.
Although the boat is in isolation yet the sand in the foreground and the clouds in the background compliment the boat and further tell us how secluded the boat is !
Photographed against the light on Pattaya Beach, the subjects are rendered as a silhouette. It was a good idea to add the beach umbrella on the top as it adds to the depth in the photograph besides adding contrast. It's usually not a good idea to split the frame into two equal parts but sometimes you just manage with it.
A small portion of the darker elements in the foreground adds another layer and contrast in the photograph. "Krabi, Thailand"
This shot above could have been taken without the window but then it would not have given the perspective that the photograph is actually a view from the window of a ship. A cruise ship in Singapore, Indian Ocean. This makes it more graphical.
Depth and dynamism This landscape in Ladakh, shows several layers of mountains in different tones. Its good to add a few in the foreground as well starting from the nearest mountain or cliff. This gives a feeling of near and far in the landscape.
As a lot of Jeeps and SUVs pass over this mountain desert on the way to Pangong lake in Ladakh on the India China Border, a lot of sand rises in the air. Including the sand in the foreground makes it a different shot.
Leading the eye
It may be debated if the flag is the subject by itself or just another element in the foreground while showing the distant area. As the flag is flowing into the frame, it leads the eye in the same direction. One should generally leave more space in front of the subject or the direction in which it is moving.
The tree branches also act as leading lines taking you into the frame. "The Ridge, Shimla, India"
Inclusion of the red pole very close to the camera just adds a dash of colour in the photograph. The Harley Davidson motor bike, has also been kept in the foreground. The add on props should compliment the main subject and never over power them by becoming too prominent or occupying too much of space. Space, yes they may occupy sometimes but still the most important area of attention should be the subject.
Sometimes, having something in the foregound just encloses the frame keeping the eye well within the frame. However, as with all other things, do not over do it, If there is no need of adding a foreground, do not include one. It should not look like a distraction but should add to the story or to the overall composition. Keep it out of focus and show a part of it, as much as is required and enough to convey the story or the environment. If it attracts too much attention and is too sharp, the viewer may assume it to be your main subject. Also be careful that you are not focusing with the overall focusing mode of the camera which focuses on the nearest element in the photograph. Choose the single point focus and focus where you intend to focus. even otherwise, it is a better mode of focusing.
Although out of focus, one can make out that these are train or aircraft seats effectively forming a frame as well.
The hangings in the foreground show what this antique market in HongKong is all about.
While in the first photograph there is no foreground as such and image starts off with the water itself. By adding a little bit of pebbles and stones in the foreground I was able to add more dimension in the same scene.