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Friday, September 4, 2009

Landscape photography tips

A landscape is a section or portion of scenery as seen from a single viewpoint.
Scenery is the subject of a landscape image. Typically, people and animals are
not shown in a landscape, unless they are relatively small in the image and have
been included in the composition to show scale. Some photographers argue that the
sea coast, the city and man-made structures in general should not be included in a
landscape, and images that do contain them are more accurately called seascapes
or cityscapes. From a purist perspective, they are probably correct, since a landscape
is a picture of the land and its aggregate natural features. However, if natural scenery
dominates an image, it can probably be accurately termed a landscape, even though
there may be a farmhouse in the distance, a city skyline on the horizon or a road or
path in the foreground.
The term “Urban Landscape” describes photographs of the city taken in the manner of a
landscape, using buildings and other man-made features as graphical elements of composition that are treated in the same way the photographer would treat mountains and trees.


Three styles of landscape photography are recognized - representational, impressionistic and abstract. The representational style is also known as the straight or straight descriptive style.


This style results in pictures that show scenery at its most natural and realistic, with no visual manipulation or artifice. It is a straightforward style - what you see is what you get. Successful images in the representational style are not simple snapshots. Although the photographer adds no props or other components to a scene and does not try to “bend” reality, great attention is paid to composition and detail. Light, timing and the weather are critical elements.


The impressionistic landscape photographer employs photographic techniques that result in images that have vague or elusive qualities. They are less tangible and more unreal, while still retaining their values that make them landscape pictures. The viewer is given the impression of a landscape rather than the clear reality of one.


This style - Abstract - could also probably be referred to as the graphic style, since the components of scenery are treated by the photographer as graphic elements, arranged for their compositional values. Natural elements may be rendered as unrecognizable or almost so. Shape and form take priority. Elements may be juxtapositioned for comparison or contrast, isolated by extreme close-up, reduced to silhouettes by severe underexposure, and so on. Design is more
important than recognizable representation.

In the landscape taken above(on the way to Hemkund Sahib, Uttrakhand), the blossom has been used in the foreground giving the landscape a distintive look


These quick tips are not essential to every landscape picture you take, but bearing them in mind and applying them judiciously will improve your picture-taking. A foreground object will help to frame the scene and add a look of three-dimensionality. Frame the scene so that it contains a center of interest - an object that draws the viewer's eye into the picture.Placing the center of interest off-center, in accordance with the Rule of Thirds, will create a harmonious composition.Placing the horizon a third of the way down from the top or bottom of the frame is usually much better than having it in the middle of the scene. Scale can often be important to the understanding of a landscape, and can be achieved by including an object of a known size in the scene. People, animals or other recognizable objects that would naturally belong in the scene are suitable for showing scale. The quality of lighting is perhaps the most influential attribute of a successful landscape. Waiting for interesting lighting that is moody, dramatic or diffused usually pays off in a memorable photograph. Ensure that your camera's flash is turned off when shooting landscapes, unless you require it to brighten a foreground object. Flash in a dusty, misty or foggy
scene may cause flare by reflecting off the droplets of moisture or dust particles. Use a tripod to ensure sharpness, especially in low-light conditions. In very low light, be sure to select a fast film speed or a high digital camera's ISO setting that will permit proper exposure and good depth of field. Watch for unsightly or unnatural elements such as overhead wires, hydrants, poles
and garbage cans, especially in the foreground. If you cannot easily move them, reposition yourself to a camera angle that eliminates them from the frame. Don't let the weather stop you from capturing an attractive landscape. Rain can add a degree of softness and peacefulness to a scene. On an overcast day, be sure your scene has an area of color in it to counteract the overall dull lighting.

Keep the rules of composition in mind when framing a scene. Lines, in particular, can be a strong factor in making an interesting landscape. Landscape photography is often more horizontal than it is vertical, presenting the opportunity to shoot a panorama. If you are faced with a wide vista and your camera has a panorama mode, this is the time to select it. Cropping afterwards can achieve a similar purpose.

When the wind is blowing or water is moving - waves, waterfalls, a tumbling brook - capturing that movement by using a slow shutter speed to create blur can add great interest to a landscape. When selecting a slow shutter speed, be sure you retain proper exposure by also appropriately adjusting your camera's aperture. Many cameras will do this automatically for you in Shutter Priority mode.


Bennett said...


It is an interesting post on landscape photography tips.

An important landscape photography tip is to check the weather to get an idea of what to expect and dress appropriately. There is a lot of luck involved with landscapes but it is better to get out and have a go even if the weather doesn't look the best, no one ever shot a great landscape sitting at home.

zuluzymph said...

thats very true....

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Tips for great Pictures!!

Look your subject in the eye

Direct eye contact can be as engaging in a picture as it is in real life. When taking a picture of someone, hold the camera at the person's eye level to unleash the power of those magnetic gazes and mesmerizing smiles. For children, that means stooping to their level. And your subject need not always stare at the camera. All by itself that eye level angle will create a personal and inviting feeling that pulls you into the picture.

Use a plain background

A plain background shows off the subject you are photographing. When you look through the camera viewfinder, force yourself to study the area surrounding your subject. Make sure no poles grow from the head of your favorite niece and that no cars seem to dangle from her ears.

Use flash outdoors

Bright sun can create unattractive deep facial shadows. Eliminate the shadows by using your flash to lighten the face. When taking people pictures on sunny days, turn your flash on. You may have a choice of fill-flash mode or full-flash mode. If the person is within five feet, use the fill-flash mode; beyond five feet, the full-power mode may be required. With a digital camera, use the picture display panel to review the results.
The flash will brighten up people's faces and make them stand out. Also take a picture without the flash, because the soft light of overcast days sometimes gives quite pleasing results by itself.

Auto focus problems

Sometimes the object for focus is too small compared to its background, for example you are trying to focus onto a single thin and tiny leaf, the camera may not be able to auto-focus on it. So place fist or any other object nearby the leaf and allow the camera to auto-focus at that position. Thereafter remove the object and click your shot!! I took snapped those red-ants on the orchids in a similar way.