Finally, Part Three of the travel photography mini-series is dedicated to terrestrial travel: trips to the countryside, hikes through the mountains, afternoons by the lake.
Tips for Landscape Photography
Where to begin?? My absolute favorite part of traveling is taking photos of breath-taking scenery and new terrain. Keep these pointers in mind as you embark on your next photo excursion:
- Frame: Of course the best frame for landscape photography will more often than not be landscape! This orientation takes advantage of your image’s natural horizon & captures a breadth of space. Portrait orientations are actually good for landscape photography as well – but your image will need one of two things. Either it will have strong vertical lines, like in the rightmost photo below, or a definitive upwards (or downwards) direction, like in the middle photo below. Remember to consider both orientations when building your landscape frame!
- Composition: The Rule of Thirds is absolutely golden in landscape photography in order to add interest to an otherwise consistent (and therefore often plain or boring) scene. Try looking for things that stand out in your landscape (say a lone tree or windmill), and place that item in a third or at a thirds intersection point. This simple trick often makes a huge difference! Check out this blogpost for a refresher on thirds.
- Color: The other crucial element to landscape photography is color. You’ll notice that depending on where the sun is, your intensely green landscape may turn out to be much lighter and white-washed on camera. This is where your editing skills step in: be sure to edit to match the time of day in which you took your photo. Play with saturation and warmth to recreate that lost color & hue. If you’re a pro at adjusting your camera’s exposure and aperture to match your scene, then you can probably skip this step or use it for a little touching-up.
Notice how the feature photo angles its elements to create dimension in an otherwise flat scene. The windmill strongly stands mid-rotation at a crucial thirds intersection point, dominating the landscape and the viewer’s attention. The logs soaking in water add strong lines that are almost-diagonals, while simultaneously creating a closer foreground that competes with the windmill’s focus. Notice that the windmill’s blades and the logs almost create a division of thirds diagonally, while the horizon cuts the image cleanly in half. Never underestimate the power of good composition!
For editing reference, this image is high in color saturation and low in warmth or temperature, in order to bring out the blues of both the sky and the water.
Check out these other landscape photos below to see these tips in action, and to understand how they work in practice. And as always, feel free to comment with questions or feedback!