How You Can Add Drama to Your Landscapes
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Do your landscapes lack drama and impact? Are you not sure how to rectify the situation?
Well, you're in the right place...
Photographing landscapes and creating drama-filled, moody images can be a difficult task.
But there's one thing you can use to get that drama pretty easily - weather.
From fog to storm clouds, snow to rain, there's plenty of ways that weather can help you ratchet up the interest in your shots.
Fog Helps Create an Ethereal World
Some photographers run at the sight of fog because it presents some challenges.
Namely, fog messes with your light meter, making it think that the scene is brighter than it is. That usually means photos that are dark with a white balance that's off, too.
Fog also minimizes contrast, so if you don't have the right elements in the scene with the fog, it'll just look like a gray mess.
However, fog is unparalleled in its ability to create a mysterious landscape, as seen above.
Pair the fog with high-contrast elements like trees, whose bark and leaves look great set amongst the misty goodness of the fog, or sun-kissed mountains, whose rocky texture will add further interest to the image.
Menacing Storms Give Your Photos a Sense of Urgency
When we see a storm on the horizon, our natural instinct is to get inside and take cover.
That's why images of storms are so intriguing to look at because they create such a sense of urgency, as though we're concerned for the photographer that's in the way of the storm.
Beyond that, storms are just naturally dramatic, making them an ideal element to add to your landscape photos to make them more interesting.
When you think about storms, lightning probably comes to mind or huge waves crashing on the beach as a storm rolls in.
These elements present obvious dangers, so if you're set on incorporating storms into your landscapes, exercise necessary caution!
Use Snow to Create a Winter Wonderland
Like fog, snow and ice presents some challenges exposure and white balance-related difficulties for photographers.
However, that doesn't mean that those difficulties can't be overcome.
In fact, snow, ice, and other wintery elements can be among the most dramatic. They turn the landscape into a pristine, frozen scene that can be beautiful when the sun is shining, when snow is falling, and at many points in between.
When looking for winter landscapes to photograph, you need elements that add texture and contrast, much like you do when photographing fog.
If there's snow on the ground, watch where you step - shots with pristine snow without any footprints can be even more dramatic and inviting.
Rain Can Be Used as the Primary Subject
The great thing about rain is all the other things that come with it.
Not only does freshly fallen rain give the landscape life and vitality, but the long, thin downpours of rain extending downward from clouds can elongate the image, making it seem taller.
Editor's Creative Tip: Creating drama in your photos doesn't end when you press the shutter button - how you print your images has an impact, too. Find out the best way to print your landscape photos here.
Beyond that, where there's rain, there's always a chance of a rainbow!
When composing a landscape with rain, try shifting the horizon line toward the bottom of the frame, that way you give the rain clouds the most real estate in the image.
Additionally, incorporating elements that have color, texture or create patterns (like the field of corn above) will only add more depth and drama to your photos.
"Bad" weather gets a bad reputation because it presents additional challenges to landscape photographers.
Sure, it might be more difficult to get a good exposure and more uncomfortable to shoot in the rain, snow, and other elements.
But as you can see in the sample images throughout this article, there is ample opportunity for creating jaw-dropping, dramatic landscape photos when the weather isn't perfectly ideal.
For even more tips on how you can use weather as a tool for ramping up the quality of your landscape photos, check out the video above by Thomas Heaton.