Foreground For Better Composition – Part 2
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Foreground For Better Composition – Part 2

October 19, 2019

this is a completely brilliant place
isn’t it do you remember the hovis advert from about 25-30 years ago, with the bakers boy on his bike pelting
down the hill this is where they filmed it now place like this has a naturally
occurring kind of a depth, because of the walls on either side we’ve got the building here and we got this ancient retaining wall
over on this side and they are in themselves creating a
sense of depth but places like this are pretty rare, even standing in the middle let’s line up a shot and see what it looks like, here we go. you can see there’s still a sense of depth going on. But you can enhance that even in a place like this by adding some foreground, if i wander over here by this wall and use this brick work here and these windows and look down the side of the stonework as the cottages go off around the corner it will still enhance it. So let me just get down, i’m bending my knees and crouching down. dont be afraid to look a bit of an idiot when you’re doing this because i want my verticals to be straight and if i bend the cameras it’s better to move myself and line up with the edge of the wall and window so it’s straight up and down there we go. we’ve got a nice shot running of down there and it’s giving it depth but I think
there’s a better way of doing and that’s to use this ancient stone work over here and there’s two
reasons for that one is the cottages are in sunshine they’re nice and bright where as this stone is in shade. Like i am at the moment. The shot is of the cottages so just by kind of moving myself around a bit, I wanna just a hint of this stone, just this kind of corner here to add that sense of foreground and place Line my shot up and make sure everythings nice and straight, look all around you’re view finder, make sure nothing is at a weird angle, fantastic. As you can see just by adding that stone work into the shot it’s given it a real anchor, a very very strong and powerful sense of place, you really feel like you’re here, whereas the one in the middle is pretty good but it’s lacking
something. So those work but are kind of obvious. Let’s go and have a look at something that’s a bit more subtle but very very simple to do and will have an immense impatc of the sense of place. Do you remember our dissapointing view of earlier on? It was dissapointing because it was one dimentional and it was flat and some of the senses the feeling the essence of actually being in a place like this they were completely missing what if we
could add a piece a forground for that picture that would put some of that i dont know that little kind of feeling of being here into the picture you know what a place
that is it really is pretty simple to do, let me show you. Now look, we’ve got a tree either side, we’ve got this bench and we’ve got this
astonishing view going on down there in the valley so just by taking 12 paces back this way what we can do is start to incorporate
this into that view in fact we can frame the view with it, and it will start to really work as an
image instead of it being something sort of like oh yeah onto the next one. it’ll be a picture that you look at you
think I’d like to go there so we’re gonna come back as far as we can, i’m gonna frame it up with the tree on either side of the image in the bench smack in the middle going beyond
into the view out into the distance, now because this is a landscape, I want to get as much depth of field as
I can, i want it all nice and sharp, so i’m gonna use a small aperture of F-sixteen there we go that set and then it really is a simple
case of focusing just in front to the bench
because that would be the best place to get everything sharp, make sure everything line sup, you don’t want a wonky horizon, don’t just whip your camera up and snap, look around the viewfinder and line things up and squeeze the shutter. and bingo what was a totally forgettable
picture has now become something much more
interesting and a place that you’d like to go to just by adding a bit of foreground, and because it’s a place you’d like to go to that’s what i’m gonna go and do now.

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  1. Very Brilliant and inspiring too. Thank you so much for this. I remember the Hovis ad, but I particularly remember the Ronnie Barker sketch at this location Ha Ha!

  2. At what focal length did you shoot the down hill street shot and where did you focus? When I try to in corporate the foreground in the shot its out of focus and looks horrible. I'm using a 70-300mm.
    Thanks for the great videos.
    Pete, N.Y.

  3. Hi Pete. Sorry i honestly don't remember exactly. If you're using your lens long then you must use a small aperture to maximise depth of field – f16 – f22 because longer lenses have less depth of field than short ones. Suggest you shoot some tests at different apertures, check them on site and use the sharpest. If you're using a long lens with a small aperture you'll probably need a tripod to keep the camera steady. Have a look at /watch?v=s2b62BJIw5c

  4. I'll start to subscribe and follow all your tutotials right away , ur videos are brilliant ! One question though , were you shooting this pictures at automatic , since you moved from being in the sun , to the shadow but both pictures look really nice .

  5. Thank you – I was probably using Aperture Priority (AV) and adjusting exposure with exposure compensation button – or manually. Sorry i can't remember which.

  6. Absolutely Jequita. This is why there's no 'Right and wrong' – there's only what the photographer wants to achieve and the response she/he wants to provoke in the viewer. I'm going to make a film about this soon because sooooooo many people are concerned they must get it 'right'.

  7. I have a question- and btw I love you man- my question is: if you are using AV, it means ur cam is choosing your shutter speed and ISO for you (as I understand it)..if you chose a small aperture don't you worry that the cam will choose a too high ISO or a too slow shutterspeed making your either grainy or smudgy? I hope that wasn't a stupid question.

  8. Thank you. On my camera I have to set the ISO myself when in AV or TV. It probably varies camera to camera. If it sets it for you then you're less likely to get blurred pics from camera shake as it raises the iso for you. But you will get grain / noise as it gets higher. If my shutter speed is low and I'm in danger of camera shake i'd increase it manually anyway.

  9. Amazing Stuff Mike!! I am just about to dive into the world of DSLR photography (waiting for my first DSLR) and I'm already feeling like knowing it to some extent…thanks to the brilliant effort that you put into your superb videos that makes it look so easy & interesting, even to a novice like myself… Cheers Boss!!

  10. You are attractive and amazing 🙂 Your teaching technic is unique 🙂 there is no photograpy course in the world like that. I am watching your videos with pleasure and learning so much things. I really would want to go to take photo with u man take care.

  11. I am a Vietnamese bloke. I knew nothing about photography until i watched all of your amazing videos from the day you were still chubby till you are now slim 🙂 .

    I wish i could meet you in person one day.Thank you Mike for sharing your knowledge thank you…

  12. Hello Mike,

    Working my way through your videos and they really are brilliant. Had to spend a lot of time going through long boring complex videos before finding yours which were recommend on a forum 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to produce these it is really appreciated

    quick ques in this video do you 'worry' about the rule of thirds when taking landscape photos focusing on the foreground? I never know where to put the horizon should it be in the middle or on one of the third lines?thxs

  13. Different focal lengths make things look different in the image so I choose one that makes the photo look the way i want it to look. If shooting for a client i use expensive lenses because the image file is better quality but as for which make a model – that won't change the photography. Have a look at the focal length explained parts 1 and 2 videos which should help /watch?v=HG-vPzrEONM

  14. Would you say a 24-72mm f2.8 would be good for both landscapes, street photography and protraits (also kids)? They are really expensive. Or do I really get better protraits with a let's say 50-200 mm f3.5-5.6? Thinking also about distorsion, will that be a problem with 24-72 compared to 55-200 and standing further away object?

    I also have a kit lens 18-105 f.3.5-5.6. Is that one good for portraits aswell or is my prime 50 mm f1.8 to prefer?

  15. hey Mike, what aperture have you used for the pics in the video(esp, the pic at 2:10)… my guess would be somewhere around f9-f11 … and please provide the EXIF details if possible, it will really help a lot for a newbie like me 🙂 … and i really appritiate all the videos you post 🙂 … each time i watch one, i feel like taking my camera out for a walk 🙂 … kudos to you 🙂

  16. Thanks Aalok. Exposure data is posted in later videos but I don't remember what I did for sure on this. Probably around f11 – f16 as you say. It was a while ago sorry.

  17. I am really liking your videos on composition. Most folks just talk about sharpness & focus blah blah. You are talking about the most artistic part of photography: Composition.

  18. A bit cheeky with the bench – sit sigh 😉 Nice touch . Great videos. Your conversational method of teaching are excellent really do break down the barriers between professional and amateurs 

  19. Hey Mike, normally were do you focus when you use small apertures and want a big depth of field, like for example on the picture at 4:08 was it the bench, one of the trees or further into the picture.
    Hope you can answer me and thanks for all your wonderful videos, may be picking up one of your guides this month 🙂

  20. Amazing! Your really helping me to think about composition in a way I've never thought of before. I've been into photography now for a few months and now I realize that I have spent way too much time learning about all sorts of different lenses and cameras and other kit, thinking that if I have the best equipment I will take better pictures. But your videos are helping me to see that really our brain is the best tool for photography.
    I'm defiant going to have to check out your 7 building blocks of photography course. Thanks mike

  21. You have a good way of describing these ideas. I've taken many a photo of scenery like your first one and they were missing something. The photo with the trees and the bench emphasises this brilliantly.

    Cheers and I hope you have a great New Year and 2016

  22. Any tips on getting a decent shot of a bend in a river/canal, they always look nice IRL but never work out.
    It always seems to just come to a boring point and the bend is lost.
    The 2nd shot of the houses down the road worked well and that's what I always expect. Could it just be my brain telling me that it does; because it knows the relative scale of a house? Rivers can be very featureless around here.

    PS: did we need the last 7 seconds where you stroll off and let one rip on the bench? 😀 j/k

  23. is this what you mentioned in the beginning of the video Mike?  I'd need oxygen after that hill climb lol

  24. I watch your lovely photography you tube time to time. They are amazing.

    Just a request, when you have time will you be able to teach us (some instructions) how to think picture compositions in ceremonies, functions, parties to get good pictures. Most of the time have to deal with moving people. For the moment I am learning by involving by taking pictures in charity programs. So whatever I give them they appreciate because it is totally free. But I see there may be a way to make them better. Thought to ask about it from an expert like you, you may have lots of thoughts about it. Whenever you have time, and only if you have free time. Thanks

  25. Mike your the Man !!! I really enjoy your videos love your passion for photography. I’m still a newborn but watching your videos will boost my skills thank you.

  26. Finally, I got someone who emphasizes so much on composition and created 34 videos on just one subject of composition. This is highly appreciable and making this channel stand out from the crowd of other photography channels. Thank you, Mike, for this. Your channel was a long due for photography enthusiasts like me who want to develop their eye for capturing beautiful frames. I think one can run his channel just for composition covering various genres of photography.

    I am from India and interested to know about composition tips for capturing beautiful temples, caves, monuments and people. So looking forward to some tips from you which can help me to capture its beauty.

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