The Concept of Foreground, Midground and Background in Landscape Photography

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Although photography is a two-dimensional art, to call an image “flat” is not exactly a compliment. Indeed, a good photograph, especially a landscape, should create the illusion of depth.

Depth is achieved by means of placing objects of interest in the foreground, midground and background. It’s a technique that dates back at least from the Renaissance when it was first used in paintings.Understanding this concept will help you create powerful compositions and give your landscapes a strong sense of scale.

Beyond the Golden Ratio and the Rule of Thirds

We already discussed in length the Golden Ratio and the Rule of Thirds in previous articles. Both are powerful composition tools that view the image as a grid of horizontal and vertical lines, the idea being placing the objects of interest somewhere at the intersections of those lines.

The two principles allow us to create balanced and eye-pleasing compositions, whether we shoot portraits or products. With landscapes, though, we need the illusion of depth. And that’s something neither the Rule of Thirds, nor the Golden Ratio can give us.We can add depth and scale to our image if we simply identify its foreground, midground, and background.Consider the image below. I took it in the Valley of the Gods in Utah. There are clear boundaries between all three areas.

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