Sticking to strict rules and guidelines is probably not what you signed up for when you took up photography as a hobby. After all, most creative people prefer to think outside the box. To do this, one would certainly benefit from learning all there is to know about how this box works. Correct?
There are endless ways to create your landscape photos. Here are some great ways to ensure that your landscape paintings are strong in composition. A violation of these rules is certainly okay and in many cases is even welcomed.
The rule of thirds
You heard about it. You saw it in pictures. The rule of thirds is omnipresent.
All professional photographers use it to create solid compositions. The idea is to divide your frame into nine equal parts by drawing two horizontal and two vertical lines. This creates a grid that has nine equal parts and intersecting lines. Today many cameras even offer a rule of thirds overlay that you can turn on to display on your LCD or in the viewfinder.
Placing your focal point at the intersection of a vertical and horizontal line is a quick and easy way to get a sense of movement, tell an interesting story, and create a generally appealing photo.
The first thing you need to do when working on your landscape photo composition is to place the horizon line on one of these horizontal lines.
For example, if your landscape photo has strong elements in the foreground, add two-thirds of the border to the foreground and one-third for the sky. However, if the sky has large cloud formations, try to make them more prominent by making the sky two-thirds of the frame and the foreground one-third of the frame.
Whenever you see stunning photos, they all have one element in common. great lighting! Good lighting works wonders, especially if you are into landscape photography.
You need to pay attention to the quality of the light and its direction. This is where you can choose the best camera setting, and light can play a huge role in the composition of your pictures.
The right balance
Many photographers, including professionals, often overlook the importance of balance. Creating harmony is not an easy task; All elements in your composition must complement each other.
Not only does this create a visually balanced photo, it also draws the viewer’s attention to important elements of your image. You don’t want an image that has overwhelming elements that completely neglect one side of your photo … unless that’s your goal and you’re doing it on purpose – see, it’s okay to break the rules!
Photos with a visually rich composition are always appealing. These are some of the best images that will immediately grab the viewer’s attention. If you are interested in landscape photography, there are endless ways to create rich visual effects. You just have to find an interesting subject, like a mountain, a tree, a sunset, or even a boat on a lake, etc.
After that, you can look for other elements that add more character and focus on your main topic. You can also look for contrasting details in the foreground, such as B. tidal pools, jagged rocks, willow branches and other elements with contrasting colors.
Playing with the contrast between different elements in your frame can add visual interest to the composition of your photos.
Leading lines, if incorporated correctly, can turn your photo into a masterpiece. That is why it is always good to look for ways to incorporate leading lines in landscape photography.
This is one of the most efficient ways to guide the viewer through your photo and tell a powerful story. You can also use leading lines to draw the viewer’s attention to the main subject or focus of the photo. Leading lines can be in the form of waves, rivers, bridges, roads, paths, trees, and more.
Include the foreground
While landscape images usually include mountains, water, etc., that’s not all landscape photography is about. Sometimes adding foreground elements can really take your landscape photo to the next level.
If you put a good looking foreground against an equally stunning background, the result is a fantastic photo. I have a lot of landscape photos in my collection that could have been masterpieces if I had included the foreground. Lesson learned 🙂
The golden spiral and the golden ratio
If you’ve been photographing for a while, you’ve certainly incorporated the golden ratio into your images. Probably without knowing it.
Photos often look aesthetically pleasing when elements are placed in the frame according to the golden ratio.
It is a design principle based on the ratio of 1 to 1.618. For more information, see our article on the golden ratio.
The golden ratio was established by the mathematician Fibonacci.
He was looking for the explanation for the perfect aesthetics of design and art. The basic idea of the golden ratio is that if you cut off a square you will get another rectangle with the golden ratio if you have a rectangle with dimensions of the golden ratio. This is what the golden section / golden spiral looks like:
When creating an image according to the golden ratio rule, you should place the horizon on the most dominant horizontal line. Also, position the focal point on the vanishing point of the golden spiral. In simple terms, from the top or bottom corner that curves in your frame to the main subject, the golden spiral creates a lead-in line.
Not only can this improve the composition of your photo, but it can also remove elements that you don’t need.
Keep it simple
It is not easy to keep things simple. Understandably, most landscape photos have to manage extensive details. However, by simplifying your composition, you can create even more impressive and impactful images.
In simple terms, simplifying your landscape composition means removing all unnecessary elements. You just need to make sure that your subject is sharp and perfectly framed with the most relevant background and foreground details.
You also need to keep in mind that simplification doesn’t mean that you start composing boring and boring photos. This means that you are creating a minimalist composition that is aesthetically flawless as well. If you leave out the distracting elements and only work on the main theme, you can create masterpieces.
Use negative space
Your frame doesn’t have to be filled with elements and details. Most of the time, having a small space to breathe can create a more dramatic effect. For example, a lone tree in a wide field not only looks stunning, but it can also tell a deeper story or convey a stronger message.
In addition, a single lighthouse with a single beam of light emerging against a foggy and pale background is a perfect example of a negative space.
Negative space can also be associated with the rule of thirds or the golden ratio.
Feel free to experiment by combining some of these “rules”. You never know what stunning results you might get.
It’s about grabbing your camera and recording everything you come across. But stopping and taking some time to think about your composition is a whole different challenge.