Foreground Interest is yet another tool in the photographers bag of tricks that helps to draw the viewer into your world as well as to create depth in an otherwise flat two dimensional space.
I prefer to photograph my toys using a fairly wide open aperture which leads to a very thin slice of the photographic plane that remains in focus (this is commonly referred to as a short depth of field). I like to pose my mini figure subjects in front of an out of focus background , this minimizes distractions and keeps the viewers focus on them. To combat a feeling of flatness to these images due to a lack of detail, I look for visual interest in my foreground.
Foreground interest can be found in a variety of ways; think texture, a reflection or leading lines. Many photographers ignore the space between the edges of the image and the subject – a veritable no mans land of underutilized space. Foreground interest is an important compositional device that can help the viewer meander into the image rather than simply being forced to immediately focus on the subject. A little simple foreground interest, a few dynamic leading lines and you’ve created an image that draws your viewer into your world at a pace which you control.
While toy photographers work with small subjects our photos don’t have to feel small. By adding this layer of visual interest at the bottom edge of the photo frame, you will give your photo a feeling of depth because there is more for the eye to see on the way to the subject. By creating this interesting and dynamic entry point, you add an extra layer of visual interest for the viewer to linger over.
As you’re setting up your next amazing toy photo, examine the foreground. Does it help to tell your story? Is there sufficient interest to draw the viewer into the photo? Are you effectively using leading lines to direct your viewers attention?
Photography is a craft, a form of expression, a means of communication; why not use all the tools at your disposal to really drive your photographic point home? The more visually interesting you can make your photograph, the longer the viewer will spend looking at your image. Not an easy task in this visually fast paced world, but one worthy of your pursuit.
If you have taken an interesting photo that you feel has excellent foreground interest, please share the link(s) below in the comments. I find we all learn more if we share our work with each other.