While it’s easy to learn the basics, putting the rules of photo composition into practice is another challenge altogether. However, the great thing about landscape photography is that there isn’t usually a rush to grab a shot. You can take your time finding the perfect view, frame it precisely with the help of a tripod and wait for the best light to bring it all together. But there are some common problems to watch out for when you initially line up your shot. Here are our top six photo mistakes that landscape photographers often make when framing their pictures…
Touching the edge
If you compose a shot too tightly, the picture will end up feeling cramped. In particular, make sure that parts of the scenery aren’t just touching the edges of the frame. It’s far better to zoom out a little and give the scene more room, then crop later in software.
Slightly wonky horizons look unnatural, particularly in coastal pictures where the sea will appear to spill out of the frame. Use your camera’s electronic level or line up the horizon with the focus points in the viewfinder for perfectly straight results.
When you take pictures in woods and forests, keep an eye out for ‘hotspots’, where the sky can be seen through breaks in the tree cover. The viewers’ eyes will be drawn to any bright areas, and this may take attention away from the focal point or disrupt the natural flow of a picture.
It’s easy to concentrate on making sure foreground features are positioned correctly, but then to forget about the background. If you spot picture elements merging into each other, like the trees in the image above, shift your position to separate them before you fire the shutter.
Landscapes that include silhouettes are particularly prone to merges. View the scene through squinted eyes to spot merge points easily. If you can’t change position to separate the elements, you may have to adjust contrast levels in software later.
Faced with a bright sky, your camera is likely to under-expose the scene, meaning foreground detail becomes lost. This makes photos look bottom heavy. Use a graduated Neutral Density filter to darken the sky – and in turn balance the composition.
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