Five Ways to Add Depth for Interest


How do you add depth to an image? It's a question that's been asked since the earliest of paintings down through the ages to photography. In some ways, it's easier than you might think. It's also more critical than you may have imagined.

add depth for interest

Without depth or dimension, you flatten the image - essentially rendering it single rather than multi-dimensional. Why does that matter? Because a multi-dimensional image looks more alive, more real.

Here are some ways you can add life to your images by creating depth.

1. Leading lines

lines in photography

Drawing the viewer's eye in through a sense of movement adds some depth - and you can do that by using lines already in the image.

Simply move the camera around to position the lines in such a way that they draw attention to the subject such as converging lines. Sometimes, the lines are curved, and other times you can use patterns to direct the eye while adding depth.

2. Foreground


An interesting element in the foreground (in front of the subject) can add depth. It adds a layer to the scene which makes it more organic or dynamic. It doesn't have to be a large or highly significant element.

Anything which adds interest to the subject - as a background can do - is usually sufficient. Keep in mind, that an ideal scene contains a foreground, middle, and background.

3. Perspective

change perspective

Try changing the perspective from which you are shooting to add a sense of depth. This can mean moving lower, closer to the ground and angling up or moving higher.

Often, by making a move like that, you can capture something you'd not been able to otherwise such as converging lines or a foreground element.

4. Lighting

lighting in photo

Just like the Flemish masters of oil paintings knew how to create light on their paintings to add depth and interest, you too can do the same. You can use natural light (ideal) such as the sun when shooting a model or landscape or diffused artificial light.

5. Shadows / Contrasts

shadow in image

Shadows created by light can add a dimension to a scene while the contrast of light and dark, particularly when captured in black and white photography, add a lot of depth.

Certain pictures lend themselves very well to black and white instead of color because of the level of contrast in the image which in turn creates depth and interest.