Everyday, all around us, there are countless magical moments from nature & our surroundings, that our cameras can capture. I really believe landscape photography has the most universal appeal – whether viewing in the pages of magazines, or hanging as art on our own walls, we can all find ourselves relating to the emotional & visual beauty encapsulated in breathtaking landscapes.
There are plenty of boxes to tick in order to photograph a truly epic piece of landscape photography. The type of camera body, the selection of lenses you should have to hand, ideal focal lengths, the perfect aperture to use, filters, tripod or hand-held, and the list goes on…
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However, when you’re first starting out with landscape photography, it’s a really good idea to remind yourself about the real fundamentals of shooting a great landscape. No matter what type of camera you’re out and about with, be it a dSLR, a bridge, a point & shoot or even simply your mobile phone camera, it’s incredibly accessible to practice landscape photography anywhere and everywhere with just a couple of easy basics.
First off, let’s look at composition
A good composition is the starting point & most important aspect of landscape pictures.
– How will you set the view?
– How will you place each element & aspect of the scene?
– What angle are you going to photograph at?
– What elements will be the main focus of the photograph?
– And any adjustments that need to be made?
ce landscape photography anywhere and everywhere with just a couple of easy basics.
Prime Lens Challenge
If you feel you need to work on your composition and ‘find your eye’ one terrific way to hone your skills is to only leave the house with 1 lens attached to your camera – and that lens HAS to be a prime lens. No zooming, no manipulating the focal length, no multiple shots at different focal lengths and then assessing later in the edit. Force yourself to have to consider the composition at the point of taking the shot. What do you want to be the main focus of the photograph? What mood and feeling do you want to try to convey? Can you move yourself into a new position to achieve that, or achieve something new & fresh for your photography? You can always tweak later in post-production, but by not relying on editing as a crutch, you can advance your composition skills and ability to get the shot you want more effectively from the get-go.
How composition can help you
When you start considering the composition, a few things happen which help your growth as a photographer:
– You properly look at the scene, as an overall ‘picture’ with a story to tell.
– You will shoot far less photos! Because you’ll be concentrating on each scene composition so much more
– You’ll move around more! Seriously, you’ll find yourself crouching down, laying on pavements, hitching yourself atop walls – all to get the right angle! So that’s a bit of extra exercise for the old limbs, as opposed to the zoom doing it all for you!
– And you’ll become a more patient photographer. You’ll learn to take your time with each photo and not just snap away randomly for snapping’s sake.
The Rule of Thirds
The magic of shapes and lines is a very quick trick to capture a breathtaking visual, as is using the “Rule of Thirds” (check out this explanation if you’d like to know more). Lines, angles, shapes & curves, can all add depth & scale to the image, whilst letting your audience travel into the scene.
Even if the landscape ahead of you looks ‘bland’ on first sight, you can refresh this look by adding in any object that creates motion. For example, a flock of birds, a cluster of clouds, a delicate butterfly darting away. And if you’re shooting a lake or the ocean, use the power of reflections to add movement & texture to the photograph.
Adding motion and texture
Even if the landscape ahead of you looks ‘bland’ on first sight, you can refresh this look by adding in any object that creates motion. For example, a flock of birds, a cluster of clouds, a delicate butterfly darting away. And if you’re shooting a lake or the ocean, use the power of reflections to add movement & texture to the photograph
Do you often head out with just one prime lens, or lock your camera at a fixed focal length? If you don’t, and if you’re trying to build your portfolio and skills, certainly give it a try. It might seem a basic step to take… but perhaps it’ll give you a much-wanted brain reset with how to see the secen and compose your photos, so you can look at all your shots in a fresh way! Feel free to let me know any composition experiments you’ve tried in the comments below, I’d love to hear 🙂
With my happy photo love,