- Last Updated: March 9, 2018
- Landscape Photography Composition Rules You Need to Start Using Today
- 6 Tips for Landscape Composition
The thing about landscape photography composition is that if you get it right, it can set the photo off and help you create something truly gorgeous.
But if you get it wrong, well, I don't have to tell you that it can completely ruin the photo.
Something as simple as the placement of the horizon (or whether it's level), using the rule of thirds, or incorporating foreground interest can really help your compositions.
But since those landscape photography rules are so well known, let's explore a few more advanced landscape composition rules.
One of the biggest difficulties of landscape photography is conveying the sense of space that the location has.
That is, the size, breadth, and depth of the area can get lost in the translation from what you see with your own two eyes to what someone else sees in a two-dimensional image.
The key to making your landscape photos feel more dimensional is by providing a sense of scale by adding something familiar to the composition.
Adding people to your landscapes is a prime landscape composition trick that helps viewers get a sense of the size of the landscape.
You can also add humanmade objects, like a bicycle, a car or even a roadway.
Animals - whether wild or domesticated - can also provide a sense of scale to viewers.
But whatever you choose to incorporate into your shots, be sure that it makes sense being there, and that you aren't composing the photo just for the sake of including the familiar object.
Editor's Tip: Composing great photos is often easier with a tripod to support your camera. Find a landscape photography tripod.
Improve Your Landscape Photography Composition With Symmetry
Our eyes are naturally drawn to patterns and shapes. That includes patterns and shapes that are symmetrical.
You can use the interest that symmetry provides to create a more dynamic landscape composition.
The primary means of doing so is to incorporate water into the frame.
As you can see in the image above, the still waters of the lake act like a mirror, giving this shot beautiful symmetry from top to bottom.
You can also utilize lines to create a symmetrical look.
In the image above, the lines of trees on either side of the road mirror one another in their shape, form, color and texture.
And notice how even though the trees aren't perfectly symmetrical, we still get a strong impression of symmetry.
Yet another method you can use to add symmetry to your landscapes is in the way you frame the shot.
For example, the four trees in the image above aren't perfectly symmetrical, but the fact that the occur in pairs adds the symmetry to the shot.
What's more, you'd never know that to either side of these four trees are more trees and rolling hills, but by framing the shot tightly on this small aspect of the landscape, the photographer was able to get the symmetrical shot they wanted.
Compose Better Photos by Using a Tripod
If your landscape photography compositions are a bit lackluster, one thing that can immediately change the quality of your photos is by using a tripod.
Now, I know there's something about being unencumbered and shooting handheld - I've done plenty of that in my time.
However, using a tripod helps you to slow down and think more intently about the composition.
Just the few moments it takes you to extend and lock the legs, get the tripod level, and mount your camera can make all the difference in the world in terms of how you see (and photograph) the landscape in front of you.
Better still, tripods these days come with quick-lock leg mechanisms that make setup a breeze.
Tripods also offer another benefit for your compositions - not only do many of them include bubble levels so you're sure the horizon is straight, but they also help you utilize the rule of thirds.
Many cameras have a rule of thirds grid that you can see in live view. The problem is that when you handhold the camera, you have to hold the camera at arm's length to see the LCD.
But with your camera mounted on a tripod, you can get a clear view of the LCD and the rule of thirds grid to help you compose better landscape photos.
Don't think that tripods are big, bulky, heavy, and complicated to use, either.
The Vanguard Alta Pro 2 264AO Tripod shown above weighs barely more than five pounds but can support up to 11 pounds of gear.
It can extend up to almost 64 inches and compress down to just under 28 inches, that way you can get varied perspectives on the landscapes you photograph.
It's lightning-fast to setup as well, meaning you won't miss any shots.
With big, rubber feet and a canopy loop for added stability, this is a great tripod to help you compose landscape photos.