So now you know the basics about landscape photography – but how to make your images stand out from the crowd without restoring to Photoshop? It is easy to fall into the usual traps and take photographs that don’t push boundaries or hold interest. Even with something like the landscape, which is static, it is important to keep things interesting.
Here are some ideas for you to try
1. Finding contrasts – They say that nature normally works in harmony but this doesn’t mean that you can’t try to find some contrast. For example, why not take a photograph of a static object next to something moving. Rocks and water for example, emphasise the difference between the fluid and soft and the hard and solid.
2. Extreme weather conditions – although the rain never feels like a great time to take photographs, why not look for the moments after a rain or a storm? Dark muddy grey skies appear as to rainbows. Put your camera on a tripod and use a ND filter if necessary and capture the light hazy skies and any bright rainbows breaking through.
3. Long exposures – these will make a big difference with your landscape images. Movement creates an ethereal quality, whether it is the sky or water. Think about the movement that is created when there is wind too – billowing grass and reeds. As long as there is something static in the shot to create a contrast, the effect will be pleasing. Don’t forget that a tripod and ND filter are essential components to this kind of shot
4. Put a person in it – to create extra interest why not add some people into your shot. Imagine for example, a gray landscape then a person in the distance, dressed in red perhaps. Or on a murky day why not have someone walking through, almost indistinguishable due to movement blur? Try to keep the person small in the shot so they are part of it, not dominating it. Also avoid showing the face of the person – we want them to represent man and people, not for it to be about the person in the picture. Also try using silhouettes and shadows
5. Go to the city – don’t just look at greenery! Try the cities – look for tall buildings, look for busy traffic especially at night time when you can get lots of moving light trails all over
6. Play with filters – the last post covers some essential filters but remember that there are hundreds of kinds you can play with. Starburst filters for example, or coloured filters
7. Trey black and white – landscape images especially moody ones work well in black and white. If the day is very dull and overcast, think in black and white and look for strong contrasts in the image. You can always use Photoshop later and apply a red filter to increase the contrast or burn and dodge specific areas to create a dramatic effect.
Remember when you are shooting landscapes to take them at the highest possible resolutions, shooting in RAW if you can so you can print the images at a high resolution if necessary later on.