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I’m glad that you’re feeling challenged by the assignments now that you need to think about all of the considerations that go into a great photograph. Soon these things you’re feeling slowed down by will become second nature to you and you’ll soon regain your speed as a photographer.
In this image you did use a stronger foreground object, but I would still like to see you push depth even further.
You have many ways to do this but two of the most common ways are
1: Using a pronounced object in the foreground which is not necessarily close to your camera lens, but is noticeably closer to your camera than objects in the background. For example:
2: Alternatively you can exaggerate depth, even within a small spatial area by bringing your camera incredibly close to an object in the foreground which will exaggerate the depth simply by your proximity to your foreground object. For example, image you placed a hard cover book on a counter and opened it up so that some pages where coming foreword. Now image you moved your camera close to those pages that where coming foreword and took a picture. There would be an exaggerated sense of depth that would separate the spine of the book from the pages in the foreground. Look at the following photograph and think about how the image would look if you moved your camera in very close to the pages coming forward:
You can do this with any object. Simply exaggerate depth, by placing the foreground object close to the lens. For example:
In these examples, the difference between your background and your foreground may be only a few inches, but because of your camera placement you’ll exaggerate the difference and help provide a strong sense of depth.
It’s not wrong what you’ve done, but it helps to get at least a little closer to your foreground to help exaggerate it. Here is another good example that is less exaggerated, but still very powerful.