You can do almost anything on the computer these days. And while we certainly extol the virtues of the digital darkroom, there is a sense of satisfaction in achieving a desired effect in-camera. In this tutorial we’ll show you three simple in-camera tricks for avoid dull landscape photography by giving them a feeling a depth.
Words and images by Mark Hamblin
However technically competent they may be, many landscape images fall down because they lack interest. Wide dramatic expanses may look great to the human eye, but that same view doesn’t necessarily transfer well to your images.
The main reason for dull landscape images that looked great to your eye is that our brain processes what we see through our binocular vision and provides us with a three-dimensional view of the world, allowing us to perceive depth.
But because a picture is two-dimensional, it’s necessary to introduce the illusion of depth using a few in-camera photographic techniques. Simply changing your viewpoint or composition is often all that’s needed to totally transform your dull landscape into something stunning. Here’s how….
3 easy ways to avoid dull landscape photography
Add foreground interest
If you shoot a mid-distant scene without any foreground elements, it will usually look very two-dimensional or flat. By including something of interest close to the camera you can introduce a sense of depth, and lead the eye from the foreground to a focal point in the distance.
Change the perspective
A greater sense of depth can be achieved by exaggerating the perspective in a scene. One way to do this is use a wide-angle lens and shoot from a closer viewpoint. This will alter the scale of the objects in the scene, so that those closer to the camera appear larger, and vice versa.
You can cleverly add a three-dimensional look to your images by guiding the viewer through the scene using leading lines. These could be a row of trees, a stone wall, a shoreline, a city street or a river, for instance – all of which will help the viewer explore the picture by directing their eyes.
10 landscape photography mistakes every photographer makes (and how to stop making them)
Creative landscape photography: master the dark art of shadows and shade
Depth of field: what you need to know to make successful images
3 simple ways to affect depth of field: free photography cheat sheet
Golden Hour Photography: tips for making magical landscapes at dawn