Ingredients for Great Landscape Photographs

4 Essential Ingredients for Great Landscape Photographs

1. Good Light

Light is the most important element of the landscape photograph. To take a photograph in a stunning location in harsh mid day light will fall flat. But you may take a photograph of a boring location but at a perfect moment when the light is magical and your photograph will turn into a unique and memorable photograph.

The Golden hour of sunrise and sunset our favorite times for photographers. A favorite time is the blue hour twilight.

If you have a day with bright harsh sunlight, look for interesting shadows and use them to your advantage.

The white sky have an overcast day can be an excellent time to take photograph close-ups.

And if you're faced with a stormy day you can use the dramatic clouds that accompany a storm.

NigelTurnerPhotography - Canyon Landscape

2. Main Subject

You will always need a main subject. You may want an image of some general landscape without a clear subject. That may include land and trees and some water. But you will need to decide what the subject is and that will help make your image more compelling.

In thinking of a main subject ask yourself what do you like about that main subject. Having descriptive words in your head will help you focus and bring that description into the image. What is it about the lake you like? Is it the reflection? Is it the shape, the peacefulness? Can you clearly see to the bottom? All of this will help you convey meaning in your image.

NigelTurnerPhotography - Utah Arches Landscape

3. Clean Background

Just as important as the main subject is what is behind it.

Clutter and distracting elements ruin good images. Perspective becomes important. Find an angle of your subject so there are no distracting elements in the background. You may need to get up high and shoot down so the background is filled with only one texture or get low and shoot upwards so the background is filled with the sky.

Try to isolate your subject and simplify the image as much as possible.

NigelTurnerPhotography - Dolomites Mountains Landscape

4. Interesting Composition

Think of photography as the opposite of painting. Painter start with a black canvas and add things to it, whereas photographers are presented with a scene a full details and eliminate things from it to the point where it only contains the most important elements of the scene. Those elements must be arranged to create an interesting graphic design.

The building blocks of composition are these that create interesting graphic designs:
- Lines;
- Curves;
- Textures;
- Patterns;
- Shapes;
- Colors;
- Frames;

There is one trick and that is to make all four of these things come together. It will take some patience, perseverance and some luck.