Tag Archives: Mid-ground

The simplest way to add depth to your pictures

• Young Knights battle at the gates to the castle •

• Young Knights battle at the gates to the castle •
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• Young Knights battle at the gates to the castle • By Netkonnexion on Flickr External link - opens new tab/page
The foreground interest fools the eye into seeing depth. In this case the path line and undulations in the mid-ground also help.

Understanding the power of the foreground…

Is the first step to creating a sense of depth in your pictures. Our eyes use markers like foreground, lines and background to gauge depth in the landscape. If we provide these in a two dimensional picture we fool the eye into seeing depth there too.

Foreground Interest – Video

Bryan Peterson explains in the video how to take a position that brings out the foreground interest. It’s easy. Make sure you shoot past something close when shooting into the scene so you can see a progression of depth… foreground, mid-ground and background. Simple.

adoramaTV  External link - opens new tab/page With Bryan Peterson


In fact you can use this landscape trick in the studio, or even a small room. Position yourself close to a foreground object and shoot past it into the room or scene. For example, use a chair or a table to occupy a part of the near end of the picture. That gives you a close marker allowing the eye to gauge a distance into the room. Here is an urban shot using the same principle…


• Monument •
The presence of the coffee cup on the table gives an immediate scale marker to the eye. The rest of the scene has depth because the eye can match the scale differences progressively as it looks into the scene.

The very well known scale of the size of a coffee cup in the picture is the clue to the depth of the rest of the shot. The eye/brain system does the rest. Simple principle – simple composition.

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By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.

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What is the ‘Background’

When we take a photograph we are almost always going to capture our main subject plus something else behind it. The fact that something looks like it is behind our subject gives the photograph at least some depth. The background is an important part of the shot. So here is a definition…

Definition: Background; Backgrounds

Definition: Background; Backgrounds | Glossary entry


 In photography the background is the part of the overall scene. It’s behind the main subject of the photograph. Proper design and use is crucial to photographic success. Recent trends minimise backgrounds, where possible, to focus on the main subject. Designs try to reduce clutter and distraction to avoid drawing the eye from the subject.

Backgrounds have a long history of careful design. They can involve great artistry, grand constructions or be very simple. It’s best to keep the background and the subject consistent. Styling the subject and the theme with different contexts creates an artistic imbalance. This will lessen the impact of the subject and confuse viewers. When designing scene and lighting consider making the theme consistent and complete. Creating continuity throughout helps the viewer to see a more harmonious and aesthetic image rather than a discordant mess.

A background is normally considered secondary to the subject. This is by virtue of its relative importance compared to the main subject. The main emphasis is placed on the central subject. Nevertheless in landscape photography the background is considered an essential part of the main picture. Landscape photographers try to layer the landscape. They use a foreground, mid-ground and distance (background). Layers provide a feeling of depth. In landscapes the distance may also be the showcase of the shot. It’s both the background AND the main subject.

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