19 : Foreground Framing


What's in front

Your previous lessons about aperture are the perfect lead up to this week's exploration of Foreground Framing. For this lesson, you will be introducing a visual frame around your subject by using objects in the foreground. This technique is an effective way to add depth and authenticity to your pictures. Foreground objects give a fly-on-the-wall effect and add context to the main action of the image.

What makes a good foreground?
The foreground, though out of focus, shows something about where and when the photograph was taken. Since the foreground should relate to your subject, it is important that you do not introduce artificial framing. That is, do not hold up an empty picture frame and then shoot through it! The challenge in this assignment is to step back and observe your scene as an outsider. Look for ways to frame your subject using items already in place. 


There are three parts to this technique: the camera, the foreground object, and your subject.

foreground blur graphic.jpeg


Use a low aperture, like f/2.8, f/3.2 or f/3.5, depending on what your lens offers. If you have a zoom lens, use this instead of a wide angle lens. Position yourself close to the foreground item, with your subject in the distance. Move and reposition yourself to get the optimum framing effect without blocking your subject entirely. It may take some experimentation to get it right.



    • DISTANCE : The closer the camera is to the foreground, the easier it will be to blur. 
    • EXPOSURE : Make sure that the foreground and subject are receiving the same amount of light otherwise either your foreground or your subject will appear as dark blob.

    Creative Prompts

    INSIDE : Door frames, furniture or tabletop items will all work as foreground objects.

    OUTSIDE : Look for low hanging branches, edges of buildings, lampposts, benches, columns or crowded streets.

    GROUPS : Body parts (shoulders, backs, hands, heads) work well in all situations.


    Share your images!

    As always, we look forward to seeing your images in the Facebook group! If you have never posted a picture, it's fine to start any time. The Facebook group is a positive, no-judgement zone. We also hope that reach out for advice or help if you need it!