Landscape photography tips and techniques Capturing scenery at its best. A landscape is a section or portion of scenery as seen from a single viewpoint. Scenery is the subject of a landscape image. Typically, people and animals are not shown in a landscape, unless they are relatively small in the image and have been included in the composition to show scale. Some photographers argue that the sea coast, the city and man-made structures in general should not be included in a landscape, and images that do contain them are more accurately called seascapes or cityscapes. From a purist perspective, they are probably correct, since a landscape is a picture of the land and its aggregate natural features. However, if natural scenery dominates an image, it can probably be accurately termed a The foreground plants above show scale and depth in landscape, even though there may be a this desert scene. Although animals and people are farmhouse in the distance, a city skyline on generally not shown in a landscape, including them can the horizon or a road or path in the also give a sense of scale. foreground. The term “Urban Landscape” describes photographs of the city taken in the manner of a landscape, using buildings and other man- made features as graphical elements of composition that are treated in the same way the photographer would treat mountains and trees.STYLES OF LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHYThree styles of landscape photography are recognized- representational, impressionistic and abstract.RepresentationalAlso known as the straight or straight descriptive Use an overhanging branch in the foreground tostyle, the representational style results in pictures frame your landscape, adding the element ofthat show scenery at its most natural and realistic, apparent three-dimensionality.
with no visual manipulation or artifice. It is astraightforward style - what you see is what you get.Successful images in the representational style are notsimple snapshots. Although the photographer adds noprops or other components to a scene and does nottry to “bend” reality, great attention is paid tocomposition and detail. Light, timing and the weatherare critical elements. Impressionistic The impressionistic landscape photographer employs photographic techniques that result in images that have vague or elusive qualities. They are less tangible and more unreal, while still retaining their values that make them landscape pictures. The viewer is given the impression of a landscape rather than the clear reality of one. Abstract This style - Abstract - could also probably be referred to as the graphic style, since the components of scenery are treated by the photographer as graphic elements, arranged for their compositional values. Natural elements may be rendered as unrecognizable or almost so. Shape and form take priority. Elements may be juxtapositioned for comparison or contrast, isolated by extreme close-up, reduced to silhouettes by severe underexposure, and so on. Design is more important than recognizable representation. QUICK TIPS for effective landscape photography These quick tips are not essential to every landscape picture you take, but applying The amazing scenery at White Sands National Monument them judiciously will improve your picture-near Alamagordo, New Mexico, provides the photographer taking. with representational, impressionistic and abstract landscape opportunities. One or more foreground objects will give the impression of three-
dimensionality, and can help toframe the scene. Depth isachieved by combiningforeground, middle ground andbackground objects.Compose the image so that itcontains a center of interest - anobject that draws the viewers eyeinto the picture.Placing the center of interest off-center, in accordance with theRule of Thirds, will create aharmonious composition.Placing the horizon a third of theway down from the top or bottomof the frame is usually muchbetter than having it in the middleof the scene.Scale can often be important tothe understanding of a landscape,and can be achieved by includingan object of a known size in thescene.The quality of the light is perhapsthe most influential attribute of asuccessful landscape. Waiting forinteresting lighting that is moody,dramatic or diffused usually paysoff in a memorable photograph.Top landscape photographers willoften return again and again to alocation until lighting conditionsare just right.Ensure that your cameras flash isturned off when shootinglandscapes, unless you require itto brighten a foreground object.Flash in a dusty, misty or foggyscene may cause flare by reflectingoff the droplets of moisture ordust particles.Use a tripod to ensure sharpness,especially in low-light conditions.In very low light, be sure to selecta fast film speed or a high ISOsensitivity setting in your digitalcamera that will permit proper
exposure and good depth of field. Watch for unsightly or unnatural elements such as overhead wires, hydrants, poles and garbage cans, especially in the foreground. If you cannot easily move them, reposition yourself to a camera angle that eliminates them from the frame.Dont let the weather stop you from capturing anattractive landscape. Rain can add a degree ofsoftness and peacefulness to a scene. On anovercast day, be sure your scene has an area ofcolor in it to counteract the overall dull lighting.Keep the rules of composition in mind whenframing a scene. Lines, in particular, can be astrong factor in making an interesting landscape.An awareness and the judicious placement ofplanes in the scene can also be factors inimproving your composition.Landscape photography is often more horizontalthan it is vertical, presenting the opportunity toshoot a panorama. If you are faced with a widevista and your camera has a panorama mode,this is the time to select it. Cropping afterwardscan achieve a similar purpose. The blossoms in the foreground create aWhen the wind is blowing or water is moving - sense of depth and provide color to anwaves, waterfalls, a tumbling brook - capturing otherwise drab landscape.that movement by using a slow shutter speed tocreate blur can add great interest to a landscape.When selecting a slow shutter speed, be sure youretain proper exposure by also appropriatelyadjusting your cameras aperture. Many cameraswill do this automatically for you in ShutterPriority mode. Your pointers, hints & tips This section of PhotographyTips.com contains information intended to improve your landscape imagery. (Click on the links below.) We hope you find it beneficial. Landscape photography is a vast topic, and no one source could ever contain all
there is to know about it. It is therefore likely that you will have a landscape photography tip of your own that we omitted or just don’t know about. We invite you to send it in to share with our viewers, along with a picture that illustrates the information. If we use it on This Cuban landscape benefits from the building in the the site, we’ll be sure to credit you with middle ground. It provides a needed center of interest, the tip and the photography. drawing the viewers eye into the picture.Noelle Haftarczyk, for example, sent us this lovely imagephotographed from her home in St. Helena, California. It wastaken with a Kodak DC3200 camera (a 1.0 megapixel digitalcamera) at 5:00 in the morning when Noelle just happened towake up and look out her picture window. She says she was"taken aback" by the scene and its uncharacteristic low-lyingfog. She immediately grabbed her camera and captured theimage before the rising sun could bring about change. Timingand opportunity play a big part in landscape photography, and Morning fog in St. Helena, California.Noelles picture is a prime example of shooting when the right Photograph by Noelle Haftarczyk.opportunity presents itself. Thanks, Noelle, and congratulationson a fine picture.