Creativity Exercise: Foreground

When we’re composing images, it’s really easy to only think about what our main subject is. But as we know, it’s often what’s around the subject that can help tell an effective story and can help turn your photograph from a snapshot to something special.

One of the ways to add both context and visual interest to your story is by using the foreground. In it’s simplest terms, the foreground is anything that is in front of your subject. You can use foreground elements to help in framing, support your story, to add visual interest, to help lead the viewer to your subject, or to even just add colour or breathing room. Your foreground doesn’t have to be complicated, but consciously thinking about it can be really helpful if you’re trying to work on your composition.


So, this week, I encourage you to think about what’s between you and your main subject.

Before you click the shutter, decide if it’s enhancing or detracting from your narrative.

As you’re composing, you can quickly scan through the following list to work out if your foreground is working for you or not.

  • What’s the colour doing to my main subject?

  • Is it helping to frame?

  • Is the foreground a distraction?

  • Is it enhancing or detracting from the story?

  • Is it helping the viewer ‘read’ their way through the image?

  • Is it making an otherwise uninteresting photo more interesting?

  • Would moving something in front of the lens help? (Items such as prisms, crystals, glass, plants, etc can often add visual interest to photographs that don’t have a lot of movement or embedded story.)

  • Is it forcing the composition to change?


Have fun with this one. Try and make as many different images you can this week, each utilizing the foreground in a different way.

Although this all might feel like a lot of thinking while composing now, the more you practice composing within your foreground, the more intuitive it will become.


I’d love to see what you come up with this week! Share on Instagram and make sure to tag us and use #unsriptedmentoring so that we can find you.