It's easy to get carried away in the moment when a beautiful landscape scene unfolds
We don't want to miss a thing, so we end up rushing, trying to capture everything.
Only problem is in that moment I call “the photographers panic” (lol), we forget the simple things when it comes to capturing a GOOD photo.
Here are some simple compositional tips I always try to remind myself of to prevent making a hash of things when I'm getting a bit too excited:
1: Put something in the foreground and something in the background.
It sounds very obvious, but it’s shocking how often this one is forgotten.
2: Foreground doesn’t always have to mean “bottom of frame” and background doesn’t always have to mean “top of frame”.
Try dividing your images down the middle, placing foreground and background objects in the left and right of the frame instead of bottom and top.
3: If an object needs to be cut off at the edge of a photo, do it with intent!
If you can’t quite get an object in the frame, resist the temptation to “get as much of it in as you can”.
Cut it off at a place that makes sense. For example, If you shot a mountain and just clipped the top of it off, it’ll probably look better if you crop further in and make it look like it was on purpose.
4: Create a focal point and/or anchor in every image.
Most images need a focal point, somewhere for the eye to go.
So if you’re shooting a big mountain which fills most of the frame, that probably won’t be enough unless there’s something interesting on that mountain.
Try placing an object in the foreground to “anchor” the shot, or maybe accentuate a particular ray of light that’s beaming through the clouds onto a spot on the mountain, giving the eye something to land on.
5: Even without moving your camera, the scene can constantly change.
Especially if you’re shooting long exposures.
Anything that moves whilst your shutter is open (water, clouds, people, animals, vehicles etc.) has the potential to create a different photo every time you click the shutter.
I often use time-blurred rushing water as a compositional element in my seascapes and every wave is different.
6: Remember to try horizontal AND vertical compositions!
Just turning your camera 90 degrees can create a very different look and feel to the result.
Before I set my camera up on it's tripod, I spend a minute or two hand-held, looking through the viewfinder, flipping between vertical and horizontal constantly to see what looks best.
Ok that’s probably the 6 most common compositional tips I have to constantly remind myself of whenever I’m out shooting.