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Do you find that your landscapes scenes are a bit lacking? You know you have the right camera settings and an interesting scene, but you just can't seem to capture a decent photo. Well the best thing you can do is experiment. Nothing will cause you to create dull images faster than doing the same thing over and over again if it isn't working. But if you need a few ideas to get you started, try out these tips and start experimenting from there.
Add a Foreground
Typically your landscape photo will feature a distant subject such as a mountain range, large valley, or waterfall. While those things alone are often interesting, adding a foreground can often make a landscape photo much more dynamic. When you find a vista you'd like to shoot, look around your immediate area for something that might add to the scene: flowers, an interesting rock formation, or any body of water. Streams and lakes in particular can add more impact to a nature scene. Also look for trees that you could use to frame your subject.
Use the Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds can come in handy when framing up your landscape scene, particularly when placing the horizon. Putting the horizon in the center of the photo often comes off as dull, but putting it on the bottom third or top third of the frame typically makes for a more dynamic shot. Which you choose will heavily depend on your scene and the weather. If you notice some storm clouds building overhead, including more sky might make for a dramatic shot. If there's a stream flowing from a mountain range down to your feet, you may want to fill as much of the frame with it and only include a little bit of sky.
Use Leading Lines
Lines have long been a compositional tool used in all art forms. Parallel lines, perpendicular lines, convergent lines, etc. Leading lines are those that lead into the frame. They don't have to be straight and perfect lines, but having a subject that goes deeper into the photo will draw in viewers. Some common subjects used as leading lines include fences, roads, bridges, and shorelines, but there are many more out there, you just have to look for them.
Wait for Different Weather
Chances are you aren't going to get your best photo of scene the first time you visit it. It may be the wrong time of day, or the wrong season, or the wrong weather. Although the landscape itself doesn't necessarily change, the look and feel of it will change with different lighting and seasons. That's why it's always best re-visit a place and shoot it again in different conditions. During midday sun is often not the best time to shoot as the overhead lighting is harsh and makes the scene too contrasty. Some of the best times to shoot are during sunset and sunrise, and before or after storms when the sun can break through the clouds in interesting ways and create a more interesting sky.
Image credit: photohomepage / 123RF Stock Photo
Written by Spencer Seastrom