Anyone with a camera and basic know-how can make excellent landscape images. The key to a good photo is in the eye of the photographer, not the pixel of the camera.
Most people have heard to take photos during the golden hours - those hours right before and after sunrise and sunset when the light casts a golden glow on the landscape. But there are other simple things to do during those golden hours that will take your photos to the next level.
Here are 5 things you can start doing right now to make your images stand out:
1. Earth or Sky? What caught your eye that made you want to point your camera towards a scene - was it the earth or the sky? Know this and it will help you frame your photo. If the dramatic sky steals the scene, compose your image so the sky fills the majority of the frame. Vice versa, if the land itself is the beauty, have the land in the majority of the frame. Many use the simple rule of thirds - place the horizon along the bottom or top third of your image. You may decide to fill the entire frame with land and not show any sky at all.
2. Point your shoulder towards the sun. Unless you’re deliberately trying to get a sunset or sunrise, point your shoulder towards the sun. Take your photo at a 90 degree angle to the sun. This accentuates shadows and creates depth to your image.
3. Create a Sense of Scale. Add elements to your photo to show scale. A glacier by itself could be either 10 feet tall or 1000 feet tall. Make your image with a boat in front of the glacier and the viewer feels the immensity of the glacier. Likewise, a garden of tulips can give the feel of endless fields by taking the photo from a low angle and filling the frame with only the colors of tulips.
4. Decide what to leave OUT of the image. Look around the edges of the frame - deciding what to leave out can be as important as deciding what to leave in. If you want to create a feel of wilderness at a scenic overlook, sometimes shifting your body just a few feet to one side can eliminate a highway from your image.
5. Look for breaks in patterns. Vineyards and plowed fields provide wonderful patterns of repeating rows. Add interest to your image by looking for a break in the pattern, whether it be a tractor, a tree or a farm worker. Breaks in a pattern will attract the viewer’s eye and provide interest to your image.
Whether you step out into your own backyard, or travel across the county, these tips will help your photos capture the beauty of your world.