Quick Tips for Better Scenery Photos

By Lyndon Gehman in Arts & Music

Quick Tips for Better Scenery Photos

As a scenery photographer who also enjoys viewing the work of others, I have seen many great photos, and many not so great ones.

What is it that makes a photo great? What causes it to pop out of a page and catch your attention? I would like to share with you three basic rules that could help you take better photographs. While I am coming at this from the perspective of a scenery photographer, many of the rules can be applied to other types of photography.

1 – The Rule of Thirds
Any simple study of photography will cover this vary basic rule of composition. The rule of thirds states that an image should be divided into thirds both vertically and horizontally, and the prominent subjects in the photo should be placed roughly at one of the resulting intersecting points. To demonstrate, I am going to overlay a grid on one of my own photographs:

Rule of Thirds

Note that the horizon is on the bottom dividing line, and the tree is placed on the right dividing line. Even though this is just a silhouette photo, strategically composing the image using the rule of thirds actually made it a strong composition.


2 – Use Diagonal Lines to Lead the Viewers Eye into the Photo
Many times, if your photo includes diagonal leading lines, they can be used to your advantage. Again I will demonstrate this using one of my own photos:

DIagonal Lines

Note how the edges of the road, leading into the shot, create diagonal lines? Those diagonal lines effectively lead the eye into the visual center of the photo.

Also, going back to the “rule of thirds”, take note that the road runs up one of the dividing lines and meats the horizon at another dividing line. Utilizing the diagonal lines, along with observing the rule of thirds, has created a very strong composition.


3 – Lighting is Everything!

Photography is really all about light. It is the exposure of light onto the image sensor (or film, in traditional film photography) that creates the image.

In order to capture the perfect image, you need to shoot in perfect light. The golden hour, a period shortly before sunrise or shortly after sunset, provides some of the most perfect photographic lighting. Harsh mid-day sun will create hard shadows and bright highlights, often destroying what could have been a good photo by. Clouds can also act as a light diffuser and soften the light. In general, the lower the sun is in the sky, the softer the lighting will be.

In conclusion, I hope these basic tips can help you take better scenery photos. Just remember that these are only guidelines- they may occasionally be broken for creative reasons. Happy shooting!