Those of us that enjoy photographing landscapes know that there’s a huge amount of work that goes into creating images like the one shown above.I mean, I wish I could tell you that it’s as easy as pulling the car over, rolling the window down, and snapping a photo in full auto mode, but it’s not!But it doesn’t have to be overly complicated, either.In a sea of landscape photography recommendations, tips, tricks, and tutorials, there’s a few things that always come up, over and over again, as the most important factors in creating a great landscape photo.
Here’s a few of those tips.
Shoot During Golden Hour
The period after sunrise and before sunset – Golden Hour – is ideal for landscape photography.You have the advantage of working with incredible light that’s soft, warm, and casts long shadows across the landscape.The warmth of the light gives landscape images a nice glow while the shadows are soft, giving the image excellent depth and dimension.Another alternative is to shoot during the Blue Hour, which occurs just before sunrise and just after sunset.Instead of warm, golden light, Blue Hour features deep, dark blue tones, as you might expect.Either way, Golden Hour or Blue Hour will give your landscapes more drama!
In portraiture, you often want to separate the subject from the background because it helps make the subject more prominent in the shot.
This is often done by using a shallow depth of field whereby the subject is sharply in focus but the background is nicely blurred.
But in landscape photography, you generally want to connect these elements in order to create a more complete visual story.
Give Viewers Unique Angles
I’m well over six feet tall. But you know what? Taking landscape photos from my eye level is basically the same as someone that’s barely five feet tall.In other words, we all see landscapes from our traditional point of view all the time.If you want to give viewers something unique, you’re going to have to take more drastic measures than adjusting the eye level by a foot or two…
That means getting up high, perhaps on top of a hill or a mountain, and composing a shot looking down below. That will help you maximize the impact of the scale of the scene before you.Conversely, you might get down low and shoot upwards, giving viewers a worm’s eye view of the surroundings. This point of view emphasizes height as opposed to space.These days, another option is to use a drone to get a true top-down perspective on the landscape below.
Earlier, I mentioned that using compositional tools like leading lines can help you create images with more depth.Frames offer the same benefits.A frame within a frame is an instant way to capture a scene in a unique way that also has greater dimension.What’s more, a frame within a frame gives you the ability to mask out part of the scene that you might not want in the shot, like other photographers roaming around.Not only that, but a frame within a frame helps you direct the viewer’s attention deeper into the shot and can help make the primary subject in the shot that much stronger from a visual perspective.