- October 10, 2018
- 18 min to read
15 Composition Tips to Take Great Landscape Photos
Composition is essential to getting your photos noticed. Thanks to smartphones, it seems anyone can point a camera and take a picture. However, skilled photographers understand there’s more to getting a fantastic shot than merely doing a quick point-and-click. Instead, you must compose a shot that’s visually captivating to hold the viewer’s attention.
What is composition? The term composition means to arrange the essential elements or subjects in a scene. When taking an image, there are three questions you should ask:
How can I draw attention to this photo’s main image?
How can I make sure the viewer sees the rest of the image too?
How do I make sure I’ve removed all of the distractive elements from the scene?
It’s now time to look at 15 composition techniques to improve your photos.
1. Find a Color
How you use color can make or break a picture. Color sets the mood of an image and is an essential compositional ingredient. Make sure to use color to its fullest extent. As such, spend the time to find a subject with an intensity that really stands out. To do so, make sure the background colors are desaturated, or completely different than the color of your main subject.
The color you select will also set the mood for the image. Just as yellow, orange, and red will solicit feelings of warmth and comfort, using blue tends to bring forth a sense of calm or cold. Green, by contrast, brings about a feeling of rebirth or freshness.
2. Fill the Frame
Filling the frame is a thought process in photography where you spend the time thinking about your subject and how best to capture it in your finished product. How can you bring forward the details or the patterns or the most critical element(s) of your subject? How does the background add to or take away from the story that you are trying to tell?
What matters here is the process of exploration and a willingness to experiment with composition. Take your time and snap your subject from different angles, from far away and closer, with and without a tripod, and more.
3. The Rule of Thirds
As you begin to dabble more into photography, you’ll hear about the rule of thirds more, since it’s one of the most referenced techniques in photography. This rule says to divide your frame into nine equal rectangles, three across and three down. Once you do, you should place the most critical elements in your scene along the places where the lines intersect, rather than right in the middle of the frame.
By following this rule, you should create more visually pleasing images.
With that being said, when you have symmetric elements and a simple horizontal line, placing an object might actually be ideal.
As you might have guessed, you don’t have to follow all of the composition techniques mentioned here at the same time.
5. Use Negative Space
Negative space is the area between and around objects in your scene. If you use the sizes and shapes of this space effectively, you can produce better-composed images.
Like other techniques, by adding this sort of minimalism in your photograph, you’ll make sure the viewer will stay focused on the subject.
Framing in photography is a technique that draws attention to the main subject of the image by blocking other parts of the photo with another object in the scene. In doing so, you’ll give the photo context and a sense of depth, layers, and structure.
Including natural frames inside your images is an excellent way to create something stunning. Frame examples include overhanging tree branches, icicles, a doorway, and more.
To create the depth on your photos you should divide your image into several layers, and make the first layers darker. The layers behind will attract a viewer’s eye and it will create this feeling of distance on your photos.
8. The Rule of Odds
The Rule of Odds says that a photograph is more appealing if it has an odd number of elements. For example, framing your subject with two surrounding objects suggests balance and harmony visually. By contrast, groups of two or four elements typically create a sense of competition with less stability.
Perhaps one of the most subjective compositions on this list, the Rule of Odds is nonetheless essential and often followed with great success.
9. Left to Right
If you have motion in a photo, it should always move from left to right, which is similar to how we read a text. With this in mind, many elect to place their subject in the upper or lower right of the composition. In doing so, one looks at the image from left to right — stopping at the sight of the subject.
10. Leading Lines
Leading lines is a technique of composition where the viewer is drawn to the paths that lead to the main subject of the image. These lines typically start near the bottom of the frame and them move up from the foreground of the picture to its background. From there, they usually lead to the main subject of the image.
Incorporating lines into your photos is a great way to bring attention to the focal point. Roads, rivers, and railroad tracks are three examples of real-world lines.
By contrast, breaking points lead the viewer to the main subject through the use of a “zig-zag” movement. Repetition and patterns can be pleasing to the eye. When breaking those patterns, however, you can allow your viewer to gravitate towards the object of your image.
12. Point of View
Eye level is where many photographers begin shooting. It’s sometimes advisable to mix things up by altering your point of view and see how that changes your subject.
Imagine snapping photos of a tree. Take pictures from under its branches. Next, find some sort of elevation and see the tree in a different perspective.
13. Horizon (avoid merging)
Don’t place the horizon in your landscape image in the center of the screen. Instead, add more sky at the top or land at the bottom so that the background is now off-center. In doing so, you’ll create a far more exciting image.
You should also make sure the lines of your horizon don’t intersect with the main subject. By doing so, you’ll avoid distractions. Instead, move the frame up or down, or left to right to prevent what’s called horizontal merge.
14. Repeating Objects
Using a series of similar objects in a photo’s background gives the image rhythm, which you can interrupt with your subject. Depending on how you place the repeating objects, you can give the impression that the photo and those objects go on forever.
Repeating objects are a great way to get your point across. Use it to create a unique frame. Think a row of trees, windows in a skyscraper, or more.
Diagonals add dynamic tension to photographs since we aren’t used to diagonals in everyday life. Instead, our world is typically filled with horizontal and vertical lines. These diagonals come across as unstable in a photo and provide a level of tension. Look for bridges, fences, and triangle shapes to work the magic of this technique.
These are just some of the tricks and tips for outdoor photography. To make your images even better, always use Photolemur during post-processing.
Photolemur works exceptionally well with landscapes, by automatically adding sky enhancements, color recovery, noise reduction, and so much more. By analyzing and adjusting various aspects of your photo, you can achieve the nearest thing to perfection.
Photolemur naturally knows just what to do for images that wow. From faces to objects, to the sky — it analyzes and adjusts different aspects of your photo to achieve the nearest thing to perfection.
What tips do you suggest for taking remarkable landscapes?