When you first try your hand at landscape photography, you may be disappointed when the prints don't look as professional as other photographers. You may wonder what is going wrong. The scenery looked good to the naked eye but why didn't the photograph look the same?
Obviously, it helps to have a breathtaking view to start with but you have to learn to really see it as you look through the viewfinder. Always see with a photographer's eye and imagination. You may not be able to move the scenery, but you can learn how to pick good scenery.
1. Look at the composition of the shot. Remember the rule of thirds? Be aware of where your horizon line falls, and look at how all the elements in the frame work together to create the image. Placing the horizon in the middle of the shot will not usually produce the results you want. However, depending on the mood you want to create or capture, you may want to exaggerate one element.
2. Great landscape photography also depends on perspective. When you are looking at the scene around you, you can see the grass at your feet, the lake and trees in the middle distance, the mountain behind that and the vast sky above you. The photo will usually only be able to show a small portion of what you see so choose to show elements that will convey, for example, the sense of vastness and great distance by including the grass in the foreground and the mountain in the distance.
3. Lighting is another important element. A bright sunny day may not produce the most dramatic landscape photography opportunities. Perhaps you will be lucky enough to capture an image of a sky of black clouds, rolling hills in dark green with a startling swath of sunlight cutting across them.
4. Decide what you want the eye drawn to - the focal point of the photograph. Don't have the focal point dead center. Move the camera so it appears left or right of center and up or down from horizontal center. This will create a much more interesting photo.
5. Be aware of the colors and tones within the frame. You don't want a brightly colored shrub to take the attention away from the spectacular rock formation you are trying to capture. If possible, move so that the shrub is no longer in view. If color is distracting and the contrast is there, try taking the shot in black and white or sepia. Sometimes a lack of color will allow you to really focus attention where you want it.
So, take these five tips and go out to try new things. Take pictures in the rain, at dawn or dusk, move the horizon way up or down and see what you get. The more you experiment the more fun and success you will have with landscape photography.
B.L. Hill has been taking photos using various types of cameras for over 40 years. For more photography tips visit the Photography Research website.
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