Oftentimes, good composition makes a difference between a good and a great landscape photo. But, as photographer Nigel Danson points out, the composition is often the area of photography people struggle with. So in his latest video, he talks about composition in landscape photography and shares some fantastic tips you can start using right away. It’s not just about the rules most of us know (such as the Rule of Thirds or the golden ratio). It’s about planning your shot and making your photos more interesting to your viewers.
The composition is about how the elements are positioned in your photo and how they interact with each other. Put simply, it’s how everything comes together in a photo. Here are seven points Nigel talks about, with some useful ways to memorize them and start implementing them in your shots.
1. How do I look for a composition?
First off, don’t rush. Take your time and explore the area before you take the camera out. Nigel looks through his smartphone to help him frame the scene, and then he takes the camera out and starts taking photos.
Then, find a point of interest, something you will frame the image around. Nigel gives an example of a photo where the sunset was first to attract him, but he needed to add some point of interest to attract the viewer, so he framed the image around two sheep.
Sometimes, you just want to attract the viewer to a particular space if there are no individual elements. In such cases, use layers, light, and leading lines.
Then, think about simplicity, and remove distracting elements from the corners of your frame.
Nigel has thought of the acronym of these elements to help you memorize them:
2. Look for patterns
The next tip is to look for patterns in the landscape. It can get viewers to rest their eyes on a particular area of the image. Also, you can use patterns to lead the viewer’s eye to the point of interest.
3. Use lines and shapes
Visual weight is the way your eye naturally lands when you look at the image. What you want to try to do is gradually lead the viewer to your point of interest. To do this, use lines and shapes to allow the viewer to navigate around the image. Use S-curves, diagonals, triangles; lead your viewer through the image to the point of interest. This way, they might want to look the image for a longer time.
4. Moving from 3D to 2D
When you watch the scene with your eyes, you see it and perceive it differently than in the photo. So, it’s very important to be aware of this when making the photos. What you want to do is capture the story in a 2D image as you see it when watching it in 3D.
One thing you can do is add texture. This allows the viewer to perceive the image more like it is in three dimensions. Another way to do it is the fog, especially when photographing trees. It helps to create layers and draw the viewer’s eye through the image.
5. Tell a story
When making a landscape photo, you try to convey the mood and the feeling that were present when you were there. This is what you want to show your viewer. To do this, use layers and try to replicate the mood. Also, colors can add a lot to the story.
6. Use negative space
Sometimes, the negative space can draw the attention to your point of interest. Sometimes it allows the viewer to immediately rest their eyes on your subject. It can reflect the story and the mood and add drama to the image.
7. Remove distractions
Again, Nigel reflects on simplicity. When your viewer gets distracted by too many elements, they most likely won’t stick around with your image for a long time. So, remove distractions from the background and the edges of the frame. Sometimes, a simple crop can help.
[7 SIMPLE photo COMPOSITION TIPS to IMPROVE your photography |Nigel Danson]