(Right-click on the picture to your right and "open" in a new window)
When composing photographs, I quickly fire through the following checklist in my head:
1) Foreground (What is the best foreground to draw interest to my subject?)
2) Subject (what am I composing my shot around)
3) Background (Is this the best background to draw interest to my subject?)
Sure, this is photography 101 stuff, subject, foreground, background, but acute attention to the details of these three things will make or break your photography.
The first image was taken during the Salt Lake ski shootout this past winter.
Notice a couple of things about the foreground element in the Ski shot:
1) It's taking up roughly 2/3rds of the frame.
2) Color = Red. Cyan (sky) and Red (sign) are complementary colors and draw our eyes into a scene quickly.
3) The text "Experts Only" supports the the subject and tells a story.
Next, are two images taken at Pipeline on the North shore of Oahu, one of the top surf spots in the world. The difference between aiming your camera toward the surf and framing your subject through an interesting foreground element is huge. The silhouetted coconut trees above felt like I was peering out of a window frame into the scene. The large wave rolling in with lots of little bobbing surfer heads just below it are an interesting subject as well. If I could change one thing.... (this was a candid image and if I could have directed one part of the shot, I would have created a bit more separation between the boy (also silhouette) on the lower left-hand side of the frame and the tree. He creates an additional foreground element and adds to the story as you can imagine he might be dreaming of being out there himself.)
The take-away here is to do look at anything that could be used in the foreground (purposefully) to add depth to the image.
More Sports Photography