Six Tips to Instantly Improve Your Landscape Photography
Written by: Tiffany Joyce
1. For heaven’s sake, don’t center everything! The rule of thirds is your friend, and even stretching the rule of thirds to a more extreme degree can make a shot very intersting. (I call it the rule of sixths, and no that has no scientific merit whatsoever, I just thought I was being clever). Which seems more appealing to you, this:
Both portray a lonely tree in a dramatic landscape, but the composition of the second photo, with the off-set tree and excellent use of the rule of thirds, seems to be more visually appealing.
2. Get low. Lay down on your belly. Set your tripod on its very lowest setting and angle the lens down a bit, even. Fill 2/3 of the image (or more!) with foreground, which creates more distance to the horizon or whatever the point of interest is in the upper third. This works well, in reverse, for skies as well.
Something like this (click to see a larger version):
3. Add some flare. We may go out of our way, typically, to avoid light flare in our photos. But when done in a purposeful way it really adds something ethereal to the photo. The point of flare can even become the focal point of the image. Like this:
Without the addition of that flash of light, the photo would still be pretty but not quite as interesting.
4. Frame the shot. While a wide, unencumbered landscape is often times exactly the point of the photo, it also adds depth to the image to frame the landscape with something in the foreground. You can even be forgiven some compositional faux pas that might go unnoticed entirely because the shot is attractively framed.
5. Keep it simple, but not too simple. Try not to clutter up the image, but make sure you add a point of interest that the eyes can be drawn to.
Both photos feature fields of grass filling the entire frame. But the second photo has additional visual interest that doesn’t detract from the simplicity of the shot.
6. Photograph the weather. We tend to keep ourselves (and our cameras!) warm and dry during inclement weather, but some of the most fascinating landscapes can be found when the skies are angry. Consider your own safety, of course, but if you’ve never hunted for a great shot during (or just before, or just after) a storm, give it a try! It’s a great adventure!
Photo credits (in order of appearance):
- “Lone Tree – Mongolia Landscape” by Tiare Scott on Flickr Creative Commons.
- “Still My Favorite Tree” by Adam Baker on Flickr Creative Commons.
- “Sedona Pano” by Tiffany Joyce.
- “Lens Flare and Sand” by Michael Rael on Flickr Creative Commons.
- “Desert Morning” by Tiffany Joyce.
- “Grass Texture” by William Warby on Flickr Creative Commons.
- “Prairie Grass” by Andrea Church on Flickr Creative Commons.
- “Storm” by Bill Young on Flickr Creative Commons.
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