At some point in our progression as landscape photographers, we need to gain a greater understanding of composition if we want our photography to continue to improve.The first composition tip any photographer will typically learn is that of the Rule of Thirds, which states that you should place the interesting elements of your photo on imaginary grid lines that evenly divide the photo into thirds, both horizontally and vertically.
Next, the idea of leading lines is usually introduced so that we can use features in the scene to guide the viewer’s eye into it. These are both fantastic composition tools, and I still use them all the time in my photography. However, just because one tool works well enough for many situations in photography, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reach for a more specialized tool compliment it or replace it to take your photo to the next level.
While I’m not always a fan of sticking strictly to the ‘rules’ or ‘guidelines’ of photography I think they can be well worth knowing and keeping in the back of your mind as you shoot (whether it’s so you can follow them or break them for effect). Here’s four ‘rules’ for landscape photography that might be helpful for those just starting out (ie they’re not meant as a definitive guide but rather a starting point) :
1. Diagonal Lines
Using diagonal lines can be a very effective way of drawing the eye of those viewing an image into it and to the main focal point.
The ‘lines’ need not be actual lines – they could be the shape of a path, a line of trees, a fence, river or any other feature in an image.
Converging lines (two or more lines coming from different parts of an image to a single point) can be all the more effective.