The transition from taking boring travel photos to taking actual amazing shots is a hard thing to do. Have you ever had a hard time with landscape photography? Me too! Sometimes you can’t seem to get it right.
You must study and get inspired by other people’s work to train your eye, specially if you do not yet fully understand composition. It is not an easy or natural thing and it takes lots of experience. It is also very hard to learn composition because there is no one, fast and hard rule you can apply to everything. This rule I’m about to give works for landscape photography, but not necessarily to all your other travel photos.
Sometimes you can get involved while looking for various patterns, leading lines, rule of 3rd, shapes, blablabla… And miss everything around you.
Raise your hand who ever missed out on a cool explanation or happening? All because you were looking through your camera and not with your eyes.
We want the great colors of nature, we want the blue skies, we want the deep waters and everything else. This month’s mission is about the #ColorsOfNature. Today we present you the beautiful city of #Zurich and its majestic #limmat river. The water is so blue and so clean that reminded us of how blue and green the #MediterraneanSea is. Zürich is one of the most beautiful cities we’ve been and #switzerland has the perfect scenario for photographers: the landscape is just breathtaking. To be part of our mission you just need to: 1. Subscribe to get our newsletter and be the first to know the next monthly theme and to see if you’re the winner of the previous mission💌 2. Follow us on instagram📷 3. Tag the photo with #Fotostrasse and tag us (@fotostrasse) too💬💭💬💭 4. Take a photo with your phone or camera anywhere in the world. We accept it all as long as it fits the theme and it is posted on the right month.📱 For more info about everything check out the link on our bio fotostrasse.com/missions
“We want the great colors of nature, we want the blue skies, we want the deep waters and everything else. This month’s mission is about the…”
And the golden rule for landscape photography is . . .
. . . Just put on your widest angle lens and get behind something on the ground to take the shot. Super simple and effective. That something on the ground can be anything from a rock, tree, a flower all the way to a pattern in the sand. Just analyze your surroudings and position yourself. What is really important here is that you are down on your knees with your wide-angle lens right behind it. Here are some examples of what I like as wide-angle lens:
All lens that are less than 50mm are considered wide-angle lenses. 50mm lenses show us what the world looks like through the human eye without distortion, anything below 50mm will have some sort of distortion on the sides. Extreme cases are the well known fish eye lenses.
“But why does it work?” You ask me
The wide-angle lens will exaggerate the object in the foreground and will also pick up whatever is on the background. It will give your photo a sense of proportion and perspective. Positioning your camera right behind something, you are adding a subject to your photo. In other words you are creating a center of interest for your viewer without losing whatever is on the background. The rest of the scenario will still be in your shot as well, you just do not need to focus that much on that. Another advantage is that it gives the viewer a sense that they can dive right into the photo. By providing a real foreground you add interest and to your image.
Let it burn! We are loving how the finnish celebrate the Midsummer’s Day here in #Mikkeli. You can see the flames all over the landscape and it looks beautiful. How are you celebrating the #summer? @fotostrasse is doing a photograpy mission and you should check it out: fotostrasse.com/missions #fotostrassegoestoFinland #visitFinland #fotostrasse #vscocam #Finland
“Let it burn! We are loving how the finnish celebrate the Midsummer’s Day here in #Mikkeli. You can see the flames all over the landscape and it looks…”
Typically standing and shooting at eye level, trying to capture the entire scene in front of you is what you do. For some, when starting with landscape photography, that just intuitively seems like the best way to snap a picture.
Remember that you must to capture the whole scene but in a different way, ok? And not have it blocked by an object on the ground directly in front of your lens.
When you are presenting the world in the exact same way as the viewer is used to seeing it makes it boring to them. Move yourself, get up or down, get close, tilt up.. Do whatever you must do to get the composition working.
How to put this golden rule into action
Determining what items on the ground will work for you as your foreground elements is the hard part, trust me. There is no right answer here. You will just have to test and test until you get it right.
Just try not to obvious even when you are out in the field looking around. Or be! Every case is a case.
Sometimes you’ll find yourself walking around while looking at the LCD in Live View mode. Specially at the beginning. But the days when the viewfinder to your face have an expiration date. Like everything, travel photography is about practice.
Here are some examples of what I usually look for when I’m on the field. Inspire yourself:
- If you’re photographing lake or river, try to use the reflection in the water
- Creeks or coast?? Why don’t you use rocks?
- For beach or deserts, a cool pattern in the sand if the way to go.
- Use the shadows when the sun is at its highest point.
- During autumn, use leaves.
There are such a huge variety of subjects you can use. Those are just 5 examples.
Go out there and try it! Even if you’re not traveling at the moment. Your city is amazing and you probably don’t photograph it as much as this city needs. The next time you are shooting, and if you come across a good item to use in the foreground, try this tip. If it works for you, share your images with me in the comments here.