As important as the main subject of a photograph can be, there are other fascinating elements in a scene that can be incorporated.
When it comes to photography, it can be easy to focus entirely on the main subject and forget about the surrounding beauty. A beginner photographer will capture only one element; an advanced photographer will tie the entire scene together.
By adding an element to the foreground, a photographer can take an ordinary scene and make it a captivating one.
Think of it this way: wherever you walk, whether it be in the city or the mountains, there are many elements making up the entire scene.
When a photograph presents these extra elements in the foreground, the viewer gets a sense of being physically present in the scene, like they too are cornering around that bush to see that cabin in the forest.
Not only that, but using a foreground element can add depth and emotion to a scene.
When there is an object placed in the foreground, the viewer must look behind or above it to spot the main subject. This act of looking around gives the image a three-dimensional appearance, even though it is not.
Remember, a foreground element needs to contribute to the main subject, not take away from. If you are undecided whether to use a foreground element or not, take a picture of the scene with and without it. Always better to have options.
When you first approach a scene you are wanting to photograph, take a look around to see what else there is that can be used to improve the shot. You want the foreground element to feel part of the scene, not something that simply happens to be there and was difficult for the photographer to avoid including.
Since a foreground element is best used at the bottom of the frame, you will have to utilize elements that are lower in a scene. By squatting, you will see the scene from a different perspective and notice foreground elements that could easily polish up your image.
Place the horizon higher up in the shot. Maybe this is an extension of squatting low, but eliminating space dedicated to the sky can help you include more in the foreground. With Rule of Thirds in mind, think about aligning the horizon with the top third line. The rest of the image will display the landscape, plenty of foreground opportunities to include.
Think of different ways you can include a foreground element; there is an entire lower third of the frame to work with. A series of elements (i.e. grass) can be used to sweep across the bottom, a large object can be anchored in either corner, or two objects can be placed on the edges to act as a frame.
The best part of photography is experimenting until something magically works. Your legs may be sore from trying different angles, but the scene will thank you for trying to unite other beautiful elements