- Common Landscape Photography Problems (and Their Solutions)
- Get a Well-Exposed Landscape Photo Every Time With This One Simple Trick
- How to Make Your Landscape Photography Better in 3 Simple Steps
- How to Use Negative Space in Landscape Photography
- When to Use (and Not to Use) a Polarizer
- The Best Filters to Have in Your Bag (and Why You Need Them)
Image Credit: Scacciamosche via iStock
How often do you see a gorgeous landscape, only to see your photos of that landscape and feel underwhelmed by the results?
It's a common problem for photographers of all skill levels because what we see with our eyes and how we see it is not the same as how our cameras see the same scene.
Our eyes immediately pick up depth and dimension thanks to our binocular vision. Our cameras? Not so much...
The trick is to help our cameras capture that depth and dimension for more interesting photos. Here's how.
Wait for the Best Light
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Landscape photography is best undertaken during golden hour - that hour or so of warm, soft light just after sunrise and just before sunset.
In addition to the light having beautiful color and softness, it also gives great dimensionality to the landscape.
The lower the sun is on the horizon, the longer the shadows are that it casts across the landscape.
Those shadows, combined with sunny areas that are bathed in golden light, make for a landscape that appears much more three-dimensional in your two-dimensional image.
Layer Your Compositions
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One of the challenges of photography is to make a two-dimensional representation of what you see feel as though it's three-dimensional.
In addition to taking advantage of golden hour lighting to increase the perception of depth, you can also layer your compositions to give viewers the impression of dimension.
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By that, I mean that if you incorporate elements into the foreground, midground, and background of your landscape photos, they will seem much more representative of the three-dimensional scene that you see with your eyes.
Having objects of interest in each of these three areas prevent your photos from looking flat because they help draw the viewer in and move the viewer's eyes through the image.
And while it's important to have a strong subject in your landscape photos - something that immediately grabs the viewer's attention, if you ask me, the foreground is where the success of layering begins.
Without something in the foreground to establish depth in the shot, it's far more difficult to create something that feels three-dimensional.
What's more, the foreground is like the introduction to the shot, and without it, the image might feel disjointed.
For that reason, the foreground is one of the most important parts of your landscape photos - it brings people into the shot and serves as the introduction to the visual story you wish to tell with your images.
For more details on how to use the foreground to add depth to your photos, check out the video above by NatureTTL.
Use a Polarizing Filter for Added Depth
Yet another way to give your landscape photos the detail they need to have more depth is to use a polarizing filter like the one shown above and below by Formatt-Hitech.
A polarizing filter is a must-have for any landscape photographer because they can have so many different positive impacts on your images.
For starters, a polarizing filter helps minimize glare off of non-metallic surfaces like water. With less glare, your images not only have one less distraction to minimize the quality of the shot, but you are more likely to capture an image in which the viewer can actually see into the water and pick up details like rocks underneath the water's surface.
Image Credit: gehringj via iStock
Another benefit of using a polarizing filter is that it boosts the contrast in the sky.
That means that your photos will have a deeper blue atmosphere and brighter white clouds with more detail.
On top of that, polarizing filters reduce atmospheric haze, which helps ratchet up the visibility and detail of distant features in the landscape, like far-off mountain peaks.
In other words, there are few photography accessories that do as much for your landscape photos as a polarizer. If you don't have one, I highly recommend you pick one up sooner rather than later!
Image Credit: Ron_Thomas via iStock
Just be careful when you select a polarizing filter because they aren't all made alike.
Some, like my Formatt-Hitech polarizer, offer superior build-quality and performance that help you get the most out of your images.
Others are cheaply made and aren't durable at all, meaning, if anything, the quality of your images might be diminished.
Though Formatt-Hitech polarizers might be a little more expensive than other brands, that extra money is more than worth it when you get a polarizer that is made of Schott Superwite glass and has multicoating that makes it resistant to water and scratches.
Just like you want to put your money towards the best lens you can afford, you also want to put your money towards the best filters you can afford. And in my experience, Formatt-Hitech filters are among the best in the business!