Depth or the feeling of depth is a compositional element used to trick the brain in thinking a flat piece of paper (or screen) has three dimensional qualities. Here are five common effects the pros use to create depth:
Relative Size Effect - Include a distinct foreground, middle ground, and background in your composition. Elements in the foreground look larger than those in the middle ground which look larger than those in the background creating a sense of depth. This is often accomplished with a wide-angle lens and by getting down low and close to your foreground which has the effect of making it appear larger than life while the middle and background appear smaller than normal accentuating depth.
|Cascade Detail, North Creek, Zion NP - © Greg Clure|
Elevated Effect - Often used in combination with the above effect, gaining elevation helps by visually separating the foreground, middle ground, and background, which makes perspective lines and size comparisons more apparent.
|Ice Cream, White Pocket - © Greg Clure|
|Pocket Reflection, White Pocket - © Greg Clure|
Atmospheric Effect - The use of haze or fog creates depth by obscuring more distant objects even if those object are not all the far away.
|Toroweap Sunset - © Greg Clure|
Juxtaposition Effect - While similar to the first effect discussed, this effect uses a prominent foreground juxtaposed to the background. The reduction or elimination of a middle ground creates a strong sense of depth by accentuating distance.
|Stormy Sierras - © Greg Clure|
Perspective Effect - Include leading lines, S-curves and converging lines in your images as these visual cues of perspective are easily associated with depth or distance.
|Playa de Verde - © Greg Clure|
So what are you waiting for, get out there and and capture that third dimension of depth in your landscape images and breathe some life into your two dimensional photos.