Don’t Create Fences in Your Photographs

Photographs have a foreground, middle ground, background. Most photographers place something that they find interesting right in the foreground. Photographer Clyde Butcher shares his ideas on how photographers tend to create a “fence” in their photographs and block the viewers out of a picture by their bad choice of foreground. He suggests two simple tips to open up the foreground:

Placing something that the photographer feels is amazing right in the foreground, decreases the emotional value of the image by blocking the viewers out of the picture. Instead, what you need to do is learn how to lead viewers into the photograph by opening up the foreground.

Draw the viewer into the frame

You don’t want to block out your viewers. Instead, draw them in. For instance, Butcher provides an example of photographing a log. You do not simply shoot a log by having it framed across horizontally. Instead, shoot it from a slightly higher angle with it placed diagonally to draw the viewer’s eyes into the frame.

leading line by diagonal tree

Get closer to go over the fence

Photographers who are new to wide angle lenses tend to be satisfied with their compositions without realizing that they could do much better if they moved in a little closer. They miss out an opportunity to get into the scene.

“You think you got the shot, ‘Yeah that’s it!’ Now walk six feet closer then take the picture, because normally you’re just going to be too far back. You have got to be at one with the picture.”

Are you creating fences in your photographs?

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