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Shooting landscapes is one of the most popular genres of photography. Photographs of landscapes typically capture the presence of nature and can inspire you. Outside towns and cities, you are surrounded by beautiful scenery. However, taking a good photo of those epic views is not as easy as you think. Are you making these landscape photography mistakes?
Here are some tips to help you uncover why your landscape photos are not working for you and how you can turn unsatisfying pictures into your best ever images.
Have you ever been on an amazing trip, gazed at a glorious landscape and captured the incredible scenery on camera only to find out your picture doesn’t stand out? There are several reasons why this is happening.
Including too much in the frame is one of the reasons why your photograph is not appealing to you. Perhaps the trees you have included are overwhelming the scene and making the view too broad. If so, eliminate these objects from the frame. Crop inwards slightly and simplify the field of view.
One common mistake some photographers regularly make is to capture a scene with uneven horizon levels. You can become so engrossed in enjoying a breathtaking view that you can overlook this aspect.
Make sure you pay attention to ensuring the horizon line is straight when photographing your next landscape image. Don’t leave it until you get home to find out that your pictures are unbalanced or crooked.
Another mistake people make when photographing landscapes is to start snapping away without giving any thought as to what they are capturing. It is easy to get carried away with an incredible view in front of you. But if you take the time to consider why your photographs are not working for you, your results will improve.
Take a view of the location with just your eyes, think what you would like to capture, and then take your photo. This approach of “seeing the scene” first can help you to take better pictures rather than just picking up your camera and taking a shot without thinking about what you are photographing.
Imagine your dream landscape scene is right in front of you. You’re standing at the top of a magical mountain, alongside a beautiful flowing river, or above some rolling hills in the countryside, for example, and you start photographing the beautiful view.
When you check your images you discover they look dull and uninteresting. So you ask yourself why they are not standing out?
A major factor that can make or break an image of that stunning panorama is light. Without directional sunlight in your shots, the images can look flat and lifeless with few textures and tones. Below is an image where the sun catching the hills adds warmth to the image to make it more interesting.
On your next landscape photography trip, I recommend paying attention to the light and trying to take pictures of more illuminated scenes. I suggest taking a photograph in no light and comparing it with one captured in some light.
Look at the differences and see how the images vary. Ask yourself how do they contrast? Is one better than the other? What makes it stand out?
Once you have found a visually compelling location and have some nice light, give some thought to the composition. Consider what subject matter looks interesting and only include that.
You will not be making the most of a scene if you include unsightly aspects of the surroundings such as telegraph poles or overhead electricity cables. If you have no choice but to capture these elements in your composition, you can always remove them in post-processing.
Below is an example where I have eliminated distracting elements after taking the picture, in the post-production phase.
Editing the photo to remove the unsightly wires enhances the image and helps to focus attention on the church, trees, and the mist.
With this article, I have identified five key landscape photography mistakes as to why your images might not standing out, and to help you take better pictures at your next photography outing. Now it’s time for you to put these tips to the test, so get out there and capture your greatest ever landscapes.
Do you have any tips you would like to share?