Tip #3: Cut the Clutter
Probably more important than deciding what to include in an image is deciding what not to include. When in doubt, simple is usually better. A viewer looking at a landscape image should intuitively know what the main subject is in the image. Other elements included in the frame should be there to lead the viewer’s eye or complement the main subject by adding depth and dimension. If there are things that do not add any interest to the image, consider changing the composition slightly to remove them or minimize them in the frame. This could be done by zooming in or shooting from a different angle. For example, if the mid-ground is uninteresting, try setting up the camera at a lower angle to accentuate more of the foreground and hide some of the mid-ground.
Before pressing the shutter button, don’t forget to do a quick check around the edges of the frame to see if there are any unwanted elements. A tree branch protruding in from the side or top could really distract from the main subject of the image.
Tip #4: Composition is King
You may be shooting during the best light, but without a strong composition, the image just may not work. On the other hand, even if the composition is perfect, if the light is not good, the image just won’t be nearly as strong. Good composition and good light work hand in hand to create amazing images.
Even if you are just getting started in photography, you’ve probably heard of at least some of the “rules of composition”. Things like the rule of thirds, rule of odds, and leading lines are all good things to know and to practice. Learn these rules, why they are important, and how they can be used to create more impactful images. Good composition (and good light) is one of the main ingredients that make a photograph and will set your images apart from the dreaded snapshot.
The fun thing about the “rules” of composition is that they can be broken. It is important, however, to understand that they are being broken and why the image still works. Sometimes it might be as simple as saying, “that’s the way I like it.” There are many articles and tutorials on the Improve Photography website that deal with composition. Jim Harmer’s Block Method Composition is an alternative to the traditional rules and provides a lot of interesting concepts for developing a strong composition.
Tip #5: Have a Strong Foreground Element
A strong foreground element can be very important in creating landscape images. Think of the foreground as the introduction or the first impression of your image. As they say, you only have one chance to make a good first impression. That’s what the foreground should do. A strong foreground element draws you in and then leads your eye deeper into the image to the main subject. It gives a sense of depth and makes a viewer feel as if they are standing right there where the shot was captured.