Foreground For Better Composition – Part 1
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Foreground For Better Composition – Part 1

August 27, 2019

we’ve all been for a day out to an
amazing location like this look we’ve got a lovely place to walk, shady places to sit, trees, we’ve got this astonishing view going
on over here this is the black more vale in dorset and on a day like today it is absolutely fantastic. Now the first thing we’re gonna do is is to try and take a picture to record
all that isn’t it. We set up our camera we line it all up and what we get is a very flat boring and
totally forgettable picture, this is because our minds in our brains
create an impression of a place, for example even though I’m facing this
way I know the I’ve got these trees either side of
me in somewhere shady to sit and i’m in a lovely location but a photograph is by definition one-dimensional its flat now I know there’s three d imagining coming on the way but for now just assume it’s flat what
you can do to improve that is use foreground to introduce an element of dpeht into the picture, its a lusury but it works. what do I mean by adding foreground?
right if I was to go and sit over here on this bench, you’ve still got this nice picture of me sitting on a bench but is still kinda flat but if the camera comes over here close to the bench and uses these timber
slats from here as foreground which lead back to me, now all of a sudden this picture has got depth. You have a real sensation sitting on the
bench next to make or at least that I am sitting ona bench. This bit which leads you to me is also called a leading line, very often elements in acomposition kinda join
together and do two jobs at once but this is about foreground there’s a
video about leading lines in the composition section. Adding foreground to a picture is a matter of getting yourself on the
move and wiggling around and aligning the elements of a picture up in such a way that there is something close into the
camera and something further away to create a layered sort of an effect. One misty morning I spotted this stick in a pool and and as you can see it’s completely lost
very forgettable and totally flat but there was a cob web in the grass on the edge of the puddle by laying down and rigging myself about
to place the cold wave in the foreground on one side of the picture and the stick in its reflection in the opposite one, it all comes together and creates a sense of depth. There are three layers of depth in this picture, the cob web in the first layer, leading to the stick in the middle layer
and the mist, trees and sky make the background layer. let’s go and
put this into practice. Here’s one straight away, look it’s quite a nice view down the walk way, we’ve got that building and the old lampost and the blue sky going on, but as you can probably see in the video camera, it’s actually quite a flat not particularly interesting sort of a picture, but it’s really simple to add some
foreground if we just come over this way a bit, half a dozen paces, and just put a bit of this tree close into the camera, and frame up the building with some of that folidge like this, all of a sudden, it just adds an element of depth to the picture which wasn’t there before.

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  1. Apologies mate. having lost 70 lbs myself in the last year, i know the sustained effort it takes. sorry to have offended. will stick to photography comments. your videos are very lucid and clear-definitely a cut above most others in addressing the topic for lay people and prosumers alike. cheers!

  2. Hi – sorry just noticed your post and I guess there has been a slight tiff going on. No worries. If you lost 70 lbs that's amazing and well done. – Mike

  3. Ah – I should have read on. Lighter life diet. 500 calories a day and you have to be very careful when you come off it. Introduce normal food very slowly over 8 weeks or the weight goes straight back on. – Mike

  4. This was the most bizarre exchange of comments lol. I got what you asked, thought it was fair, but then I thought maybe Mike had a medical issue and Emily assumed we all should have known and thought maybe you were poking bad humor. Ugh……misunderstandings are horrible. Love these videos, but I also was curious at how Mike went from being a bit overweight, to becoming the next James Bond……he looks great. Glad this was answered……thanks Mike!

  5. I only recently discovered your series of videos and have been working my way through them. Please let me say that it is incredibly generous of you to share this volume of knowledge with us! I'm an amateur who is anticipating retirement in the not-too-distant future and am looking forward to having more time to devote to my hobby. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

  6. I've known all this stuff for years and am just coming back to it. Having looked at loads of "composition workshop" stuff … and got pretty bored at times … this is easily the best. The interaction between video and camera is just right, as is the pace, the "reality" of situations etc.

  7. Im saying HELLO from Malaysia.
    May I know what is the aperture value used in the last photo? F8?
    My camera lens (the Oly EPL5 kits lens, 14-42mm) does not has the metering label as in old lens.
    Thanks in advanced.

  8. Thank you. And Mike Browne's followers are the best followers on Youtube. Seriously – you guys and girls ROCK.

  9. Mr. Browne, Thank you for a wonderful set of video's. I am a complete newbie to photography and the way you explain everything makes my journey so much more fun.
    After watching, I try to get out there and practice what you preach. Thank you for taking the vast amount of time it takes to make these great videos. They are the best photography videos I have ever watched. Thank you, thank you!

  10. Thank you so much for saying so. Please help us spread the word about our films by 'liking' 'G+ing', sharing them and linking to us on photo forums, Facebook etc

  11. Thanks. I don't have a teacher background apart from the ebooks and courses I've been doing for the last few years. However I did do a teacher training course last November.

  12. At the end of this video when you take the photograph of the tree and the bench and light pole… where do you happen to have your focus point?

  13. I was wondering about the last picture (actually thought about it before you did it so I'm feeling quite proud of myself :P)….but yes, was wondering if the "framing" could've been in an even stronger by taking only half of each tree trunk into the photo. Now there was some "empty space" on each side of both trees? So essentially the image would end to tree trunks on the side and be framed by the foliage on top? Kinda like watching a big screen in a movie theatre…?

  14. Hi Mike.I just love your videos and I have the same impression as Ahmed about a teacher background.Mike,what camera setting did you use on min 3:18 adding tree and bench on the foreground and where did you focus on?

  15. Thank you. Not sure what settings I used – it was a while ago we made this film but probably a smallish aperture of about f11 and then set whatever shutter speed needed to get the exposure with it – sorry. I would have focused at the point where I got maximum sharpness which would be about 1/3rd into the scene with a short lens and small aperture. Have a look at these videos /watch?v=48PPOTyBSB0 and /watch?v=Z7X9MPGrrbE

  16. GREAT question. It's different for everyone. Some have a natural ability to see light and composition, others have technical ability and some can combine both effortlessly. For most of us (me included) it's down to making time, being dedicated and a LOT of practice. I think fear of 'getting it wrong' is a huge hurdle for most people. They read, ask, check and research forever but rarely (if ever) experiment for themselves. There'll be a film on this coming soon….

  17. Hi Mike! I'm really learning lots from these videos. I'm really struggling with making interesting foregrounds. I feel like my shots may have too much focus and just feel really messy!

  18. This was really helpful! It would be great if you can do a longer video expanding on the topic and giving examples for different situation, e.g. portraits, urban, close-ups, etc. Thanks again!

  19. Many, many thanks for your videos!

    I'm a amateur photographer from Spain.  There aren't enough videos of digital photography in Spanish, so, despite of that i don't speak English very well, I've watched all your videos.  I can read in English with looseness, but I can't speak it nor follow many speeches in real time.

    It's so dificult to follow your speech because you are quickly talking.  I would like to ask you to add some subtitles (in English, of course) with the main sentences or ideas, and the settings of each shot. 

    Surely there're more non English speaking followers that follow your videos, and thereby you can help us.

    My best regards to you!

  20. nice video but 1 question comes to my mind: could that tree  attract my attention more than the background? How can i manage this and keep the tree or another element in the composition without reducing or minimizing attention to the rest of the elements in a picture? thanks for you reply in advanced. 

  21. Sir excellent videos and very easy to understand demonstration. my best wishes you are an institution in itself guiding millions of ametures and professional photographers.

  22. I think you are the best teacher at explaining photography on youtube. Other youtubers just love to talk but show very few examples.

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