3 Essential Ingredients for Landscape Photography
Three Essential Ingredients for Great Landscape Photographs
1. Good Light
Light is by far the most important element of a landscape photograph. A photograph of a stunning location taken in harsh mid-day light will fall flat. A photograph of a boring location taken at that perfect moment when the light is magical will turn into a unique and memorable photograph.
I don’t actually believe that there is any kind of light that is inherently bad. You just have to know what to do with the light conditions that you are given.
The golden hour light of sunrise and sunset are usually a favourite time for photographers. My favourite time is the blue hour: twilight. It’s hard to go wrong with these two types of light.
When you have a day with bright harsh sunlight, take advantage of the opportunity to look for interesting shadows.
The white sky of an overcast day is an excellent time to photograph close-ups.
And what about those stormy days? Those can be the best of all with the dramatic clouds that accompany a storm.
2. Clean Background
Just as important as the main subject is what is behind it.
Clutter and distracting elements can ruin an otherwise good image. This is where perspective becomes important. You must find an angle to photograph your subject so there are no distracting elements in the background. That can mean getting up high and shooting down on your subject so the background is filled with only one texture, or getting low and shooting upwards so the background is filled with only sky.
Try to isolate your subject and simplify the image as much as possible.
3. Interesting Composition
I like to think of photography as the opposite of painting. Painters start with a blank canvas and start adding things to it, whereas photographers are presented with a scene full of details and must start eliminating things from it until it contains only the most important elements of the scene. Then, those elements must be arranged to create an interesting graphic design.
The “trick,” if there is one, is to make all three of these things come together. It will take patience, perseverance, and a little luck.