How FOREGROUNDS Can Make or Break Landscape Photos (VIDEO)

by John Stapel

Should you emphasize the foreground in landscape photos, strive to balance nearby objects with those in the distance, or eliminate the foreground altogether? That obviously depends upon the scene. The tutorial below explains how to make this important decision for the best possible results.

Danish landscape photographer Mads Peter Iversen always scrutinizes the foreground carefully before framing an image, and his reason is simple: “A foreground can make or break your landscape photography.” In the behind-the-scenes episode below, he demonstrates his approach to composing scenes for maximum impact.

While touring the Danish countryside, Iversen visits five locations to illustrate his tips. You’ll see what he does when confronting scenes with dynamic foregrounds, others with nothing nearby of interest, and yet others where it’s a tough call. In each instance he walks you through the best approach for getting a great shot.

As you’ll see, once you decide how to deal with the foreground of a scene, the proper composition tends to quickly fall in place. His first stop is a misty forest, and he immediately decides to hone in on two nearby gnarly trees. His goal is to contrast these barren foreground objects with the lush growth in the background

Iversen’s second location is the perfect example of when to ignore the foreground completely when composing a scene. Here he concentrates on a beautiful stand of trees in the distance, while framing the shot so as to eliminate an ugly road close to the camera.

Next Iversen arrives finds a spot that’s sort of a hybrid situation. There’s an interesting dirt road in the foreground disappearing into the distance, with compelling mid-range and background objects as well. He demonstrates how he solved this challenge with careful framing and appropriate camera settings.

The manner in which Iversen handles the other locations on his tour is equally instructive, so take a close look and put his advice to work.

You can find more landscape photography tips on Iversen’s YouTube channel and in a tutorial we shared recently from another top pro, explaining the easiest way to use long exposures for dramatic landscapes images.