At Rebel Miles Photography, we love the craft of photography – and we want to share our passion with the world. In this article, we’ll take you through some of the basics of one of our favorite topics – landscape photography!
Landscape photography is much more than just pointing your camera at a landscape and hitting the shutter – a truly great landscape requires careful composition, a keen eye, and these 4 essential ingredients.
1. FANTASTIC LIGHTING
Lighting is the single most important element of all photographs. Without light, there can be no photograph – and without great lighting, landscapes will look boring, flat, and washed-out.
This photo is a great example of what good lighting can do for a landscape. The golden light of the winter sunset washes over the scene, bathing it in a contrasting orange and black.
If this photo was taken during the middle of the day, it would be boring and flat – but by waiting until the sun is setting and shining on the lake, a fantastic visual contrast is achieved.
2. A GREAT SUBJECT
Contrary to popular belief, landscapes require a subject. If a landscape doesn’t have an obvious subject, it will be boring – there will be nothing for a viewer’s eye to be attracted to.
This photo of the Mackinac Bridge is a good example of what we’re talking about here. This photo is, undoubtedly, a landscape – but there is a central subject.
The viewer’s eye is drawn to the clean lines of the bridge, and follows the curves of the suspension bridge through the photograph. Because the viewer is guided by the bridge through the photograph, it’s much easier for the viewer to understand the composition of the photo, and to know where to look.
3. A CRISP BACKGROUND
Ideally, a great landscape photograph will have a clean background, allowing the subject of the photograph to be emphasized, and avoiding clutter and confusion.
Here’s a good example. In this photo, the subject is clearly the tree that’s in the foreground, and though there are some houses, grasses, and other trees dotting the background, there is no clutter that could distract the viewer from the subject.
4. INTERESTING COMPOSITION
In a way, this point encompasses all three of the points before it – an interesting composition will have great lighting, an interesting subject, and a clean, clear background.
It will also have a variety of colors, textures, patterns, and visually interesting shapes that will hold the viewer’s eye, and provide an aesthetically pleasing viewing experience.
This photo of Lake Michigan in the winter is a fantastic example of the value of composition. There is plenty of contrast – both between the deep blues of the sky and the sandy beach, as well as the typical “beach scene” being shown under the cover of cold, winter snow.
There is also an emphasis on interesting shapes and textures – the variety of frozen trees and plant life present provides visual interest, and helps hold the attention of the viewer.
FOLLOW THESE GUIDELINES FOR GREAT LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY
Photography isn’t easy. But if you follow these guidelines next time you take a landscape photograph, you’re sure to find that your results are truly spectacular.
Practice makes perfect – but knowing the basics about composition, lighting, and other landscape techniques can certainly be helpful! So get out there, get your camera, and explore the world through your lens – you’re sure to make some wonderful art.
Rebel Miles Photography
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