7 Composition guidelines for Better Landscape Photography

7 Composition guidelines for Better Landscape Photography

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Composition is the main key in photography. Light, location and post processing are always really important but without a good composition, the image will never be a very good shot

On the web there are so many articles on this thread, often are called rules but since is not needed to apply them all together it would be better to talk about guidelines

For this reason I want to talk about 7 composition guidelines in landscape photography, that I often use during my shots, I hope it will be helpfull for you


 

1. Rule of Third

The rule of third is the most know rule of composition in every kind of photography. This is also the first rule learned by beginners photographers since it helps very much to create interesting balanced shots

The rule of thirds relies on the famous “grid” that sets it apart: imagining it during the shooting phase or displaying it from the live view screen of the camera

With this grid, the rule of thirds identifies four important parts of the image that you should consider for placing points of interest while composing your image

The rule of third also gives you four “lines” that represents the best locations for elements in your shot. Positioning points of interest in the intersections or along the lines your picture becomes more balanced and will allow an image observer to interact with it in a more natural way

It’s also possible to use just 1 or 2 spots moving along the lines created by them in order to form different point of interest on a side as opposed at the other element


 

2. Leading Lines

The leading lines are one of the most important tool in composition. They allow to virtually always follow with the eye a line between the key element of the picture. Through the leading lines it is possible to control the viewer’s eye through the frame

Leading lines are all around us in cities and in nature. You only need to find and arrange them in your shot so that they lead towards the key element of the frame

Once you find the leading lines is compose the photo using the perspective to enhance your composition: Some examples of leading lines are: rivers, waves, sand dunes, roads, rocks etc…


 

3. Framing

Framing in photography consist in creating a visual picture frame within your image to draw attention to the main subject

In landscape photography the frame is natural, like trees, branches, rocks or leafs. In architecture are usually used window, arches, doors

Framing images helps very much to give attention to key elements. Many times, frames are easy to find in other cases creativity is needed but the prominence of the subject is guarantee

Finding frames while shooting is sort of like being on a really creative scavenger hunt. You’re constantly looking for new ways to frame your subject or finding creative tools to incorporate


 

4. Add Foreground Elements

Adding foreground or use foreground elements to fill the composition is one of my favourite rules of landscape photography composition. The use of the foreground helps very much to fill the space between the main subject and the rest of the image, it gives imediately a sense of depth

To add a foreground elements it depends of what you are photographing and on your own creativity, in most cases just to take a look of what you have around and add it at the bottom of the shot

Sometimes is enough lower the camera angle view by including a good part of the foreground towards the main background element

Whe you use this composition rule remember that is helpful if it adds to the impact of the image but it should not be distracting, which is why it is important to balance the use of the foreground in favor of the key elements


 

5. From Light to Dark

Light is one of the key factors that captures the most attention. When I wrote my article about 10 Tips To Improve Your Landscape Photos I was talking about shooting in the direction of light; this is because the sun will add a wonderful point of energy in your image, it will change and enhance the entire balance of light in your picture

Playing with light and creating transition areas between warm and cold or bright and darks is what drives the viewer towards the main subject


 

6. Viewpoint

Today on the web we often see images very similar to each other, strongly influenced by social media and by the desire of photographers to emulate some top shots found on socials

All this is normal and also understandable, we live in the age of social networks and we are constantly influenced by beautiful locations images

When you take a shot try to change your angle view, it helps a lot to create new interesting compositions. This gives the possibility to create a more personal content

All this changes in viewpoint can add a deeper meaning or feeling to your image, doing it is not always easy but a scouting of the location always gives interesting and different points of views


 

7. Mind the Corners

This is not a compositional rule, but more a warning. When we take a shot we need to ask if every element in the frame is necessary and it help the composition of the image

About this keep attention to not to leave elements in the corners that could distract the viewer’s attention. The presence of some spots or distracting elements may easily grab attention out. It is easily removable zoomin or moving the tripod or removing it in post processing


Site Founder

Hi, my name is Giuseppe Sapori, a professional photographer and author of this website, created by yours truly to show my work and share with you the techniques I use. My expertise is in the field of Landscape Photography... (Read More)

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