Why the Inclusion of Foreground Elements Matters in Wide-Angle Landscape PhotographyJun 22, 2021
Wide-angle lenses are often the go-to choice for many landscape photographers and for a good reason. The main subject for most of my landscape photography is the mountain scenes in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Wide-angle lenses are often necessary within these mountain ranges to achieve the full visual impact of the main subject within a landscape photograph because of the proximity to the subject and their vastness.
However, these wide-angle views can result in a lot of negative or empty foreground space. Therefore, careful consideration should be given to the inclusion of foreground elements within a wide-angle landscape scene. The main reason that the inclusion of foreground elements matters within wide-angle landscape photography is that these elements infusion a sense of real-life relatable depth within a scene.
Allow me to pull from my psychology background here for a moment to explain why the inclusion of foregrounds is important within a landscape scene. Human beings have an inherent need for connection. Innately and unconsciously, we seek connections within our environments within the natural and physical world around us. We seek out and are more impactfully drawn to situations and environments in which we can relate. Art to which we are drawn into and can relate will always be more impactful than something that is unrelatable.
The inclusion of foreground in a landscape image increases relatability and infuses a more life-like experience for a viewer. This will enhance a viewer's connection with your imagery and strengthen visual impact automatically, often creating a stronger photograph.
If your goal is to improve your landscape photography's visual impact, you should consider including foreground elements within your photographs.
ISO 100, 16mm, f13, 1/4 sec
So does this mean that a landscape image should never be without foreground elements? Well, no. Rules in photography are meant to be broken. As a photographer and creative, you should never allow photography rules to restrict your execution of an image. Instead, use your knowledge about photography rules with intent and generally follow them to help create a stronger image.