How Landscape Photography Works

Landscape Photography Techniques

By mastering certain photographic techniques, you can take your pictures from "blah" to "wow." Composition, or framing the picture, is one of the most important aspects of photography. In composing a photo, use a technique called the "rule of thirds." Divide the view into thirds both horizontally and vertically. Align the focal points of the picture where the horizontal and vertical lines intersect, and the resulting photo will be much more interesting to look at.

Good composition can also convey depth and scale. Placing an object in the foreground will help the viewer know where to start looking. Larger elements in the background can convey depth to the picture.

Weather and sky can also work to your advantage. Horizon lines work well for the rule of thirds. Weather can provide a sense of motion, and choosing how much sky to add to a photo will help determine scale and depth.

Lines can help your landscape photos come to life, because they draw the viewer toward a focal point further back in the picture. You can include roads in landscape pictures to help lead the viewer's eye through the picture.

Panoramic shots might convey a scene's grandeur, but zooming in on a subject can show incredible details. Look for patterns in the landscape. Close-ups of leaf patterns or bees zooming around a flower can be effective and beautiful photos.

Simply changing the point of view can turn a shot from so-so to stunning. A simple shot of a river may be adequate, but try walking around and examining it from other angles to get a more interesting picture. Take the time to look from all angles -- including high and low vantage points -- to come up with that extraordinary shot.

Finally, consider lighting in your picture. Natural light is key to landscape photography and might take some getting used to. Many photographers refer to the "magic hours," or times when natural lighting is exceptionally good [source: Frazier]. This timeframe comprises the hour before and after both sunrise and sunset. However, even bright sun in the middle of the day can make a picture interesting. Study where the sun is and how it will affect the picture. Using sun as backlight, sidelight and even in the foreground can create interesting shadows and effects. When light is low, adjust the settings on the camera to allow for more exposure in order to capture that moment.

Once you get your technique down, there are a few extra tips and tricks you can use to snap the perfect shot. We'll take a look at them next.