Landscape Photography: Basic Composition Tips

Dan Eitreim

February 19, 2015

You bought the best digital camera you could afford, you bought first rate lenses, tripods, flashes and so on… And still you aren’t satisfied with your final images.

While good equipment can make your life much easier, the camera is not where the best images are created. They are created by the photographer.

If you want top notch, dynamic images all you have to do is learn – and use – some basic photography techniques. First is composition. The area of photo composition is easy to learn, doesn’t require that you invest in new equipment and will immediately show in your photos – taking them to the next level.

Composition covers taking photos from different and unique angles, placement is the frame, lighting, what should and should not be included and much more.

The first thing you are going to learn in most composition courses or books is to avoid placing your subject the center bulls-eye position of the frame. While it seems like the most logical place, it is actually the most visually boring location. The basic “rule” that covers this is – the rule of thirds.

In the rule of thirds, imagine a tic-tac-toe grid overlaid on your viewfinder. The four points where the lines intersect are known as the “power points”. Place your subject on one of these power points and it will be much more visually arresting. The two horizontal and two vertical lines are “power lines”. Place your horizon on either the top or bottom line and it will allow you to place more accent on the ground or sky. Place vertical subjects on the vertical power lines.

This one simple rule can take a dull, unexciting photo and make it something special.

Diagonal lines are more dynamic that straight ones (roads, fences, power lines)… if it makes sense to have diagonal lines in your photos, by all means do so.

Leading lines (railroad tracks, fences and etc.) will draw the viewer’s eye into the photo and lead them to where you want them to look.

Landscape photos should always be shot at dawn or dusk (or up to an hour after the sun dips below the horizon – the “golden hour”). The color of the light is at its best during these times and the low raking angle of the sun will create the shadows that show texture and make our pictures pop off the page.

Always use your tripods to eliminate blurry out of focus images when they are enlarged for the wall. Just because it is clear in your tiny viewing screen, doesn’t mean it will be clear when made bigger.

Give these basic tips a shot and I think you’ll be amazed at how much more of the “wow” factor you’ll see in your photos.

To learn more about a great online class, check out – Photography Master Class

For a bit of fun check out – Trick Photography

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