Landscape Photography

Using FOREGROUND to Make Your Photographs Look 3-Dimensional                                                   

You can pick the subject, but your photographs must have two things:

1.      You need to keep a center of interest

2.      You must shoot something in the foreground to frame the picture


Enchanted Tree, Number One


Our vision vs. the camera:  We see stereoscopically and can move around our subject, which gives us visual cues about depth and space.  The camera records a frozen moment in time on a 2-Dimensional surface.


Here are some tips and suggestions to help make your photographs look 3-Dimensional:


  1. Use size cues to help indicate depth and scale (Ex. If you include trees in your photograph that are both near and far, the trees that are closer will be much larger and more detailed than those that are farther away.)


  1. Using a wide-angle lens (short focal length—below 50mm) will increase the perceived distance and create a feeling of deep space.


  1. Use the smallest aperture size possible without allowing your shutter speed to go slower than 60 (1/60th of a second.)  A small aperture of f16, for example will give you a very large depth of field making a majority of the scene sharply focused.
  2. Use overlapping objects in your photograph to indicate that some objects are closer while others are farther away. (Ex. One building in front of another.)


  1. Use side lighting to create volume—shadows and highlights.


  1. Include 5-6 planes in your photographs:
    1. foreground – shows an interesting detail and establishes scale
    2. mid-plane – contains size cues that lead the eye
    3. feature plane –  depicts the center of interest
    4. horizon plane – where the sky and ground meet
    5. cloud plane
    6. sky plane


  1. Foreground shouldn’t be any closer than 6-10ft.


  1. Shoot it outdoors; stay away from flash


  1. Put people in photographs of landscapes/historical places


  1. Remember to use the rule of thirds for placement of the horizon line and center of interest


Winter Sunrise



                         Assignment given:                           Please refer to
                         Film due:                                          Blackboard for
                         Contact prints due:                         all due dates
                         5 Prints due:


Additional resources:

After viewing the images of any of the photographers above, choose one photo and describe:

  • What is the subject? What is the framing device?
  • How did they control their camera and/or composition to add depth?
  • how they composed the picture (through point of view, framing, space, light and focus)
  • their choice of subject matter
  • and how that contributes to what the picture expresses.

Write a Response

See Responses

Back to Photo Home