Landscape photography is a form of photography that generally captures an outdoor setting. Landscapes generally do not include people or posed subjects, but may include animals that are part of the natural scenery. Although landscape photography sounds easy enough to capture, it takes a keen eye to capture the essence of a given scene. Very few have mastered this technique, such as Ansel Adams. It is easy to recognize a master of landscape photography since their work stands out ahead of all others. After studying the masters, it becomes apparent that the beauty lies within the simplicity of the shot. Here are a few tips to help the amateur photographer to improve their landscape photographs.
Simplicity is better than complexity. Landscape shots should include very few elements. The photograph included in this article is focused on a singe object; the barn. Although there are other elements within the photograph, it is clear that the barn is the main subject within the photograph. Oftentimes, photographers try to capture too much within a single shot and end up with a photograph that is overly complex.
Landscape photographs typically include elements within the foreground, the mid-ground, and the background. Do not confuse the presence of these elements with the need to introduce complexity to the photograph. The foreground includes those elements that are naturally present within close proximity to the photographer. The foreground introduces the illusion of depth with in a landscape photograph by creating a close proximity to those elements that are within reach.
The mid-ground is not discussed much in photography since it serves as a rather benign, yet important element to the photograph. The mid-ground elements create a transition to the observer from the foreground to the background elements. The mid-ground elements serve as a transitional message to the observer that in order to reach the main elements of the photograph, the observer must first pass through stages between the foreground and the background.
The background in landscape photography is the star of the show. Landscapes generally focus on the horizon and other elements within the background. Care should be taken to include as few objects in the background as possible to bring a sense of achievement to the observer. Each landscape should end up at a destination. In the sample provided in this article, the barn is the destination for the observer. It is simple, easy to relate to, and easily achievable, meaning there are no barriers between the foreground and the background.
Landscapes should be shot with the focus set to infinity and the aperture set to a narrow setting (high f-stop numbers). By setting the aperture to a high f-stop you will obtain more detail between the foreground and the background. If necessary, lower the shutter speed and use a tripod to achieve maximum focus within the shot.