Inside the Composition
3 Tips I Use for Landscape Photography
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Thank you for the video. I have always (55 years now) taken photos. Just taken them, no thought on composition, just look and click. Now in my senior years and a nice camera Canon D90 with Tameron 150-600 or 18-400 lens, I lost myself on the details of getting it RIGHT. This one video has helped me tremendously on gaining the confidence that I lost and the short Lightroom Classic updates helped me, to not be afraid on Lightroom Classic, whew. Great Ah-ha moment. Thanks again, Gina
As ever, Matt, an insightful and helpful video.
I am a landscape photographer, so I really enjoy your tutorials. I learn so much from you, especially your presentation style, so easy to follow! Thank You !
Thank you for sharing these insights and how you work to improve your thoughtfully composed images.
Thank you! I’m trying to take more landscape photos and trying to compose the photo is my biggest challenge. “Less is best” is my motto for post processing so I appreciate your comments about not getting too technical. Will your Composition class discuss only landscape photography?
Excellent video. I will try these tips!
Excellent points. I try to frame my sunsets and sunrises. My question is DOF. Because you used F-16 did you not have to focus on the seagrass or rocks. Enjoy all your videos and courses. Thanks!
Hi Dale. I focussed somewhere about 20-30 feet in front of me. To be honest, it’s not something I even think about. I rarely look at my focus point in a landscape unless I have something REALLY close to the camera (less than 10 feet in front). Thanks.
Thanks, I just did some real estate rural photos for my son, and he and his boss loved them. I am sure it was due to the composition and like you said taking the camera for a walk. Love your LR edits.
“Get away from the technical stuff” should be the mantra to be recited at the start of every landscape and nature photo shoot!
Thanks Matt for this concise but informative video. I have a number of your courses and often watch your tutorials.
I find you to be an excellent instructor and always offer good tips, such as using the object tool for the trees!!! I hadn’t
tried that yet, and the use of the linear gradient to help blend in areas…such as the grasses and the water.
I need to find some beautiful spots like this to “play in”, but I will think of your tips when I get there!!!
“Get away from the technical stuff.” I generally shoot handheld and up to ISO 3200. (unless it’s moving water or something like that) I get a lot more shooting and different locations shot that way and get things that I probably would have missed if I had had to set up a tripod at the moment. (getting the right height and changing height are the worst time syncs).
Heaven forbid you’re trying to shoot wildlife with a tripod. If you’re set up in a hide that’s one thing, but just walking/hiking and you come up on something you’re going to miss it if you try and set up a tripod.
thanks for these suggestions. landscape is definitely what I struggle with. I keep working away at developing good composition! The editing suggestions are great.
Excellent presentation. Your trick of using a “subtract” Linear Gradient to feather the edge of a previous selection is just fabulous. This is something I will use often.
Yes! Totally agree. Genius editing trick!
The video was very informative and I did take notes about composition and your camera settings. I do think the edit you made in Lightroom was confusing to me. I understand the “window” composition technique but what you ended up with, even after cropping, was the two sides of the photo with trees and though they were not equal in space, they sort of competed with each other. You then brightened the foreground grass and that perplexed me. If I see this photo, my first inclination is to look at the mountain since it is the main point of interest to me despite its relative small size. I would wonder why the photographer chose to highlight some boring grass and trees when a beautiful mountain and water are there! I would think that if you wanted to highlight the foreground you would have eliminated the mountain altogether…
Hi Bari. Everyone is different. The composition and balance of the trees is perfect to me. Equal space to each would have been a failure (in my opinion) here. As for the edit, this is what struck me as correct. I don’t know what else to say. The grass may be brighter but it’s not the brightest thing in the photo. And if you looked at the mountain as the main point of interest then my job is done regardless of the edit right? 🙂 I think the main point is that these are just suggestions both in camera and in Lightroom. I explained as I went what I was thinking, but that’s not always what others think. Thanks!
Go with your gut, not what others may like! I agree. Thx Matt fir the help.
Matt, really loved the video, and will review it a few more times to get a better idea of how to use LightRoom a little more effectively than I do now, but want to ask you a question about your camera of choice, which I see in your video is the Sony a1. I have been trying to decide on which camera to get after selling my Nikon d850 and a number of old lenses and want to make the move to mirrorless. Been looking at the Nikon z9, or either of the a1 or the a7R V, do not shoot much BIF, but do shoot some sports, or people moving a lot while swimming, or water skiing, or kayaking, or sailing, or repelling, or landscapes, or buildings, flowers, etc. Why did you choose the a1?
Matt, I have purchased a couple of courses through you and found them ever so helpful. The periodic tips you send out always provide me with at least one aha moment and help to make both my photography and post processing easier and better. So thank you so very much!
I’m in a Camera Club in which we have a monthly theme for which are allowed to submit two images per month for judging and critique. I love to frame landscapes by looking through trees or shrubs and/or including a foreground so I am fully on board with your suggestions. The foreground creates depth and context – a sense of ” it’s almost like being there”. However I am constantly told by our judges that these features “are a distraction” and “should have been cropped out”. I think what really matters is what I think, not what the judges think, so I’ve learned over time not to take such comments too seriously. I also like your editing work flow in Lightroom as its pretty much what I myself do. I sometimes find that pushing up the “vibrance” rather than the “saturation” helps enhance the colours without making them look overdone.
Hi Glenn. Thanks for the thoughts. Camera Clubs and competitions are tough. It’s great experience and I think it can be fun to shoot and try to have a photo to enter. The problem is that in many clubs I see, the judges probably shouldn’t be judging. It’s a skill, and one that most haven’t developed. They usually end up being some of the vocal people in the club and I’ve seen people bully their way to judging because nobody wants to say no to them. They figure “well this person is vocal and loud about their thoughts so they must be good”. Not always the case, but your thoughts are right on. Submit a photo and if you win great… but pleasing judges should never be your goal.
I was a member of a camera club that had monthly competitions like the one described by Glenn. When the club secretary moved, I volunteered to take her job which included the job of tallying the scores of the 3 people from the club who were chosen each month to be judges. After recording scores for a while it didn’t take me long to be able to guess what each judge’s score would be on a photo. Certain judges liked certain things and would give the photo a high score and others would give the same photo a low score. I was the only one who saw the individual scores until they were averaged together and only the average of the 3 judges were used in determine the winner. After this experience I decided to quit the camera club. I was looking for a place to learn photography and monthly competitions became demoralizing. The comments were helpful and people seem to care too much about getting a winning score so they could move up and become “master level.” I appreciate your view that this is the way you see a photo or a skill and it is OK if you see it in a different way. This encourages me to try new things. I have learned a lot from your courses.
Great tips as usual Matt, I hope to try some of this out this weekend in Gatlinburg and at least visit Cades Cove since I’ve never been to Cades. A lot of folks say it a good place to get some photos. We’ll see! If you have shot up that way do you have any suggestion on some other places to shoot?
Thanks for all you do for us photogs!
Skip Gatlinburg and go to Cades Cove. You won’t be disappointed.
Thanks for this! Loved the talk through of the aperture and settings, and insight into what you are thinking – and the object selection capability in Lightroom is amazing!
Thanks Matt. It is always good to see different insights on composition. Fantastic suggestions to improve out photography. Biggest challenge is getting out to practice and put these tips to good use. Thank you.
Most of my shooting is landscapes and your video was very helpful. Looking forward to your course.
Great and helpful video. With using f16 for a foreground-to-distant background scene such as the one in the video, where do you set your focus point? Do you use live view to help with the focus? Thanks.
Hi Bob. I have to be honest and say I don’t really think about it. Over the years, experience has taught me to move it over a place 20 or so feet in front of me and that works great. But it’s not something I consciously even consider. Unless I have something REALLY close to the camera (within a few feet), I just point and shoot. In fact, Clyde Butcher who’s a world famous landscape photographer said that during a book signing I was at, when some one asked him. They asked where he focuses and he said “I have a point and shoot camera… I just point it at something really nice and shoot”. 🙂
Enjoyed learning about the Composition tips in this video. I agree with you about sometimes a Polarizing filter can do more damage than good. Great video, very well done! I Just purchased your, No Light? No Problem! Vol 3 Course, got into it right away and I’m 100% satisfied!
Hi Matt – very helpful video. I noticed you are using a ballhead I had not seen before, FlexShooter. How do you like it, esp compared to the RRS ballhead?
Love it. It’s the only ballhead I now use because I can use it for Wildlife and landscapes.
The video makes you review your approach and that’s something that is always good. I do the first and third tips but haven’t really, actively thought about the second tip of sort of mapping foreground to background lines. So, much as I’d like to sit and watch more, I have to get out there and try it!! Thanks Matt.
I often struggle with where to put the horizon. I often take shots of all possibilities, then pick the ones that resonate with me when culling.
Great techniqes to keep in mind. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us!
As always, Matt, another excellent tutorial. We’re expecting a snow storm over the next 24 hours [Kitchener, ON] so I’m looking forward to bundling up & capturing some snowy landscapes.
Also – looking forward to your upcoming course.
Thanks Matt – all good stuff that probably you were right to highlight, certainly for me. Your edit tips were enhancing the Lightroom Summit 2022 sessiosn, again well worth it and looking forward to the next one. f16 rather than f11 is a new setting for me to try.
Thanks for the video Matt, very useful, but I’m surprised that your aperture was set at f16. I appreciate that it gives a greater depth of field but thought that the “sweet” spot for lenses is most likely to be around the f10/f11 setting.
Hi Graham. Lenses no longer have “sweet spots” that you’re supposed to change your shooting for. At least according to the engineers at the camera companies I’ve spoke to. 25 years ago I heard that a lot. Today, not so much. Is there a sweet spot technically when zoomed in pixel peeping at 400%? Maybe. But I guess the ultimate test is… does the photo look good? Did anything look bad about the photo I showed in the video? And to add to that… if you pay extra money for a lens that shoots at f/2.8, does that mean you should shoot it at f/11? Of course not!
What about diffraction? Above about f/8 most lenses decrease (sometimes a lot depending on how far you stop down) in overall sharpness due to this. It’s a pretty complicated phenomenon differing from lens to lens, quality of the lens, sensor size, megapixel count on that sensor, etc.
Again, “is it acceptable to you?”, can you “fix” it in post, would both apply in how far you stop down.
So a lens is able to shoot at various apertures, but you shouldn’t do it? Can you imagine a car manufacturer making a car that had features… but hey… you’re really not supposed to use them because they’re not any good. Shoot at the aperture the situation requires.
Great video, Matt. I don’t think I’ve ever watched one of your videos where I didn’t learn something. I love your practical approach, and the more I learn, the more I realize that I lean toward the artistic rather than technical side of shooting. I know the basics, and I like my photos, and that’s who I shoot for. I don’t have enough time to practice and I know I need to do more, and I need to take more time with my composition. I tend to see something I like, then shoot it without really thinking it through in more detail then when I’m in post, I start seeing all the things that if I had just paid more attention I could have enhanced the photo in the field. Keep up the great work.
Thanks Matt great techniques and editing. Amazing what I have picked up watching your video.
Great landscape tips. I was mostly into landscapes and I never thought my landscapes were very good due to not really knowing what or how to do it right, so I did it to suit me. Now a year later after meeting you last year and switching to Bird / Wildlife Photography, BTW many thanks to you for that, I just love BIF/Wildlife. I am not real good at it yet, however your teachings are helping me in ways you will never know. Keep up the great work and I will take look at your Landscape course when it come out and who knows I may add that back into my photography journey.
Thanks again and Semper Fi,
Really enjoyed the video. Some excellent tips.
I like your straightforward approach. “Perfection leads to procrastination” I once heard you say and that phrase has always stuck with me. This video fits right into that. Keep up the good work.
Another useful video. Thanks very much.
I prefer not to use a tripod as I fear tripping over it which has happened a couple of times!
Keep up the good work.
always very pleased with your presentations. While aware of the 3 composition tips I really use the first two. I do use tip number 3 but not often, Your suggestion to use it multiple times is a great thought. More often I still think and shoot with print film in mind – then later that digital photos cost you nothing. Thanks again Matt
Every tip you give us a good one . Thanks Matt much appreciated- just need some of those gorgeous Mountain. Ranges and lakes .. not too many of those here in Sheffield UK 👍 big thanks mate
Enjoyed the video, Matt. May I add a few thoughts. Once I chose the background subject, I spend most of my time selecting a suitable foreground. I like your idea of contouring the foreground into the middle or background. In addition, I try to get the viewers eye to travel through the frame by using leading lines and trying to find balance in the frame. I want the viewer to start with the foreground and travel to the subject in the background. I do this by having the foreground darker and cooler than the background subject, as the eye typically travels from dark to light and cool to warm. I sometimes tilt the camera down slightly if the far away background subject is in the top 1/3 of the frame to exaggerate its size. I find having more foreground in the frame gives the view a better sense of place. Finally, I make sure the foreground is in crisp focus, but I don’t mind if the background is not. I think this is more realistic because, when you view a scene in nature, the faraway landforms are typically a bit blurrier that the ones close to you. Your thought?
I need to remember to tilt my camera more when shooting! Thanks for mentioning this. I frequently find in both portrait work and the view landscapes I take these days that adjusting perspective in post kicks it up a notch for me. I assume camera tilt would do so even more “naturally” wrapping the eye’s view around the closer objects better.
I struggle with the use of a tripod. Although I search for my composition first I still feel immediately constrained and limited once I’ve mounted my camera. More than once I’ve established my camera settings only to end up grabbing a preferred shot with my iPhone just because I can much more quickly and easily adjust as lighting or other environmental changes occur.
Agree it is a game changer when you look for a standout foreground and then something mid- ground to lead you onto the background. I know I need to practice more in this area
Good little info video
Thanks for sharing.. I do shoot landscape mostly
at f16 but I tend to think about hyper-focal distance
when I want to get something close is acceptably sharp
and the background. Did not see any mention of hyper-focal
distance in the video.. Any tips/comments on hyper-focal distance and
when you think about it shooting landscape..
And, thanks for the quick editing tips and with latest LR, my trips to
PS is diminishing..
Hi. It’s not something I use or recommend. F/16 and concentrate on creativity and composition. Never had any problems with sharpness in 25 years.
thanks Matt. One thing I make sure I do is to look around the edges of the composition. I make sure there are not bits and pieces that distract from the image. Recomposing is easier than cropping or cloning out later
I usually recommend to shoot a little loose. You never know what crop and aspect ration you’ll need so I don’t pay attention to edges much since I can crop them away. An extra 5-10% all around the edge isn’t a bad idea.
All great tips, which I try and remember when out shooting landscapes. I love trying to use nature to frame.. My issue is I am usually on the go with family, so I often feel rushed to get my shots & move on. One of these times I’ll just stay and practice away!
At least you keep trying, Nicole. I quit taking my camera when out with family because I totally zone out my companions and get lost in all the possibilities of the photography 😉
With the long shutter speeds (6-8 seconds) you got using AP, was there any concern about blowing out the portion of the sky where the sun was rising?
Nope. And if it did I’d see the blinkies on the back of the camera and adjust my settings.
Thanks for the informative video. I will take the information you shared and practice the window technique.
Thanks, I was unaware of the object mask, sometimes the subject mask did not do what I was expecting. So object mask will get more use.
Well impressed and really hope I take the hints onboard based on your result.
I know the tripod was a RRS but in the opening (1:52) a “gadget” (a leveling base? or perhaps a ball head?) was visible and intriguing. I thought I could read “Flex” or perhaps “Plex” but when I googled those names no tripod related products were found. For sure the logo was not RRS as their logo is clear immediately below the “gadget’s” logo. Could you please provide the manufacturer, model and price for that. It looks well engineered with a quality build. Thank you.
That’s a FlexShooter Pro.
Thanks Matt, enjoyed the video!
Nice video, gives me something to work on. Finding the right foreground is a struggle for me, your tip will help. I do use thr windo/framing technique to focus the viewers attention on the key point in the photo.
Your relationship with a polarizer needs expansion. I know it can cause problems in wide angle shots but overall it is the single best filter for me for landscape photos. Sky problems can be fixed in PS or even Lightroom.
Hi Dean. I disagree but that’s okay. I took it out of my bag 5+ years ago and never looked back. Sky problems actually can’t easily be fixed in LR or PS. Deep blues or the dreaded wide angle gradient cause more people problems than a polarize actually helps. Again, my opinion and my work hasn’t suffered by not having it in the bag. But if it works for you, great. Thanks!
Providing these insights (and in bite-sized portions) is sincerely appreciated!
Thank you Matt,
Been chasing wildlife all those years, and have completely forgotten about landscape, well, until the Z9
Gary, just read your reply to Matt K about his landscape video and noticed in comments that you said that you have now returned to shoot landscapes because of the Z9. Could you elaborates I am now trying to decide between the purchase of a Sony a1, (just saw in the video that Matt uses an a1, and would love to know his feeling on it, and if possible how does it compare in his opinion, to the z9), a Sony a7R V, or a Z9, was a Nikon shooter for many years and just sold my d850 along with a number of lenses, and looking for a camera that can do most of what I shoot, from landscapes to buildings, to street, to people doing all kinds of things in a residential camp setting, as I am a summer camp photographer, and thought that the z9 just may be a little heavy for me to carry around for a few hours at a time. Your thoughts
I know you didn’t ask me but here’s a few thoughts.
1) z9 and a1 aren’t totally apples to apples comparison. That said, for wildlife, I know many people that shoot the z9 and love it.
2) For landscapes, buildings, street… both of these cameras are WAY overkill. Any camera you could buy 10 years ago would be great. I had a D810 and I can’t say my landscapes are 1% better today than they were with my Nikon back in 2014.
3) Since I said the a1 was overkill, have you considered the a7r5. I got mine about a month ago and it’s a wonderful camera. As far as AF and wildlife go, it’s as “sticky” as my a1 is (maybe even better but that’s hard to tell for sure because they’re both outstanding). You lose 20 fps, but I generally only shoot at 10 to 20fps anyway. And ISO performance on the a1 will be slightly better.
But one thing you never said you shoot is wildlife or sports. So if that’s the case there would be no reason to get an a1 or the z9 for that matter.
Lastly… if you’re a Nikon person I’d say get Nikon. If you’re Sony get Sony.
Really lastly… I do have a good friend who loved his z9. He just recently sold it because the camera and lenses are heaver compared to Sony by a couple of pounds (long lenses that is). And he switched to Sony. I don’t think you can go wrong either way and it will come down to preference when it’s all said and done.
Thanks Matt! Great tips on selecting and composing a landscape. I run into walls constantly as I’m never sure how to deal with the chaos of landscape, but these tips will help me a lot.
A lot to be said for off tripod previewing possible photos, but please, not for recording videos. That constant motion while recording makes it hard to concentrate on your great tips!
Hi. That is incorrect. What you didn’t like was motion (which had nothing to do with being or not being on a tripod). It was a gimbal. Your personal taste is to not like the movement. But I prefer it as do many.
Matt – you are a Rock Star! You packed a lot of insight and education into a short video. Thank you.
Thanks for sharing Matt. I plan to use your techniques next time I’m shooting landscapes.
Foreground, rocks, & windows. The first two I frequently utilize, but the windows sometimes are difficult. I feel like I am trying to put the scene in a box and especially look for symmetry inside the framing so the composition looks “forced”. The best “window” shots I have taken over the years are serendipitous, perhaps “ah-ha” moments that I’m not even looking for.
Thanks for sharing your tips, Matt.
Thank you for taking the time to help us out in taking photographs. It is always nice to see how things are done and get new ideas.
Do you shoot most of your landscapes like the lake in ID. at F16, ISO 100, Ap priority
Watched free video. I think your tips were excellent and I for one didn’t think about landscapes like that. Thanks very much.
This was very good, as are all of your videos. I think was pretty much doing these intuitively, but it is nice to articulate it specifically. Especially the rocks, which was something I haven’t thought of before. Thanks so much!
Good ideas, Matt.
great ideas i cant wait to practise but like you living in florida ( orlando ) its a little challenging
Very informative as always, not to mention the incredible scene in that final photo. I really enjoy your courses and wonder if you could simplify taking photos of snow scenes in varying lighting conditions.
Hi Matt, I have not used lightroom as yet, as I am new to editing. However, YOU have encouraged me to start…it looks easier than photoshop. My composition skills are pretty good, but your information is a good reinforcement.
Matt, I have learned a lot from you and thank you. I loved the use of rocks in the foreground but wonder if you need to do anything special to capture them when they are in the shallow water. Do you achieve that solely by being down very low? I also have never used the Lightroom object tool you demonstrated and will have to try that! Thanks again.
Thanks! You may need to get down low. But not too low. You don’t want to shoot across the rocks. You still want them below the camera.
I didn’t know that with “select an object” that I could brush the particular subject, paint it in and let lightroom define the outline. Your sample of roughly outlining a tree as the subject is a great idea that I will be using. Thanks for that.
Nice job Matt, I think I do some of this, but this video will bump it up to the top of mind next time I go for a walk. Lately my walks have been around my neighborhood, you’ve heard of street photography, my subjects lately have been back alleys, but I will definitely be more aware of the foreground and looking for those windows to include.
The editing tips will come in handy too!
Matt, you really are a top instructor and all the free content you offer is amazing. I have purchased some of your courses on both LR and Ps, and am 100% satisfied. Thanks again for continually sharing your experience and expertise with us!
Hi Matt, more great advice – thanks! When you use F16, where do you focus? I’ve heard “a third of the way into the scene”. Does that mean from the bottom to the top of the frame or 1/3 of the distance? In some cases it would be the same but not always.
Usually on whatever is about 10-20 feet in front of me. Everything else will be acceptably sharp. But to be honest, I don’t think too much about it because at f/16 the photo will be in focus unless you focused on something VERY close to you.
Always interesting and helpful ideas in capturing landscape and editing. Thankyou.
Thanks Matt for another great video. Your 3 suggestions are all challenges I try to consider. Also if the light lasts long enough, try more than one composition.
Thank you Matt. Most worthwhile.
I also paint, so composition is something I attend to regularly.
My main problems now are physical ones. After two knee replacements and one hip,
I have to be careful where I go and often miss better compositions because I can’t get down low or climb to better spots. Rather frustrating
I am not a landscape photographer so these were some good tips! Many thanks!!
Thanks Matt, another very informative video
Thanks, Matt! I found this a helpful video with good examples for each point. Developing a set list of things to check for each time can certainly save the “Rats, if only I’d…” back at home.
Thank you so much. This was a very informative video; you gave me some things to consider that I hadn’t thought of before.
Great tips and thank you for giving us your settings used. I travel a lot and can’t wait to put these tips into practice.
Matt your video is very practical and helpful….I learned…….and that is great….Thank you!!
An excellent and holistic presentation
Always appreciate your teaching skills. You make it seem possible! Thank you for constantly looking for ways to make our photography & processing easier and more fun. Looking around at the surroundings is a very good tip and so basic. We tend to forget the basics and get caught up in the complicated.
Very nice, thank you
Thank you very much for the tips. I often try to find a foreground, but I don’t think of anything more than that. I don’t take it one step further as in thinking of contour. I definitely have some work to do. 🙂
Thanks for the video – I always learn something from you! Often my biggest challenge in landscape photography is determining which part of the scene to include in the photo.
First off, fantastic location, I live just a couple of hours from there and love it! I love your tips, ideas to try and editing pointers too! You are a great teacher! Thank you!
Cool Tips, I really appreciate you including your camera settings on the photos.
I need to concentrate more on taking the time to frame the photo with objects that add interest to my photos. I’m often too quick to point-and-shoot. Thanks for these tips that I need to consider as I take my photos.
Thanks. informative as always
Matt: As always an excellent tutorial. I do most of what you suggest except, I usually walk around with my eye to find the window or frame that looks good, then approach it with the camera. I don’t however “work the scene”, I shoot what I find and am happy with that. I need to do better in this regard. Whereas I always look for foregrounds, your suggestion of curves and using the foreground similar to a leading line was brilliant. Also, I rarely consider submerged rocks as a foreground element, I will henceforth. Thanks so much.
Thanks John. For me I’ve found me “eye” to be very unreliable. The camera sees it different from how I do, so I always have to look through the camera because my eyes aren’t a good judge of what the photo will end up looking like.
Do you try to balance the photo so not too heavy on one side or the other?
Very helpful. Thanks!
Loved the video — quick review — doable and practical tips……
Hi Matt. I always enjoy your teaching in the courses I’ve purchased and your training tips like this one.
Since I live in Idaho I was curious, do you remember the name of the beautiful lake you shot this at?
Thanks! Yes it was Little Redfish Lake – outside of Sun Valley.
Matt, your background mountain range looks like the Sawtooth Mountain range in Stanley, Idaho. Heard the mention of you being in Idaho, then seen the lake view with the mountain range & thought about the Sawtooth range!
Video with your thoughts & viewpoints were great to listen to, take into consideration my next time out!
Thanks for all you do for all us! Well appreciated!
I am in total agreement with Lisa. My eye was not built with the ‘creative gene’ so, I have to work hard to construct or find the art. I also tend to quickly SNAP rather than COMPOSE. I must slow down and think it through!
Excellent insight into landscape technique. Keep the great tips coming.
Appreciated the object selection in the masking tool which I haven’t used before – quick and easy! Your video pleasantly confirmed my own strategy for landscape selection.
Biggest take-away from this video for me . . I need to slow down and look (now my mantra)
Thank you for adding a dimension of art to photography…I haven’t used Lightroom yet but am looking forward to it…nice work!
Matt, you are so good at simplifying the process, and also analytical at understanding why certain things work.
1. Not many photographers do this, but what do you think of using two L-shapes (i.e., cardboard cutouts) to frame the photo when you are trying to select a composition.
2. What is your opinion of always shooting a bit wider than your intended composition in case you see something during post that you now want to include but didn’t see it when you took the shot. For example, the end of a branch or the rest of a bush or rock outcrop.
3. My biggest challenge is trying to simplify the shot. It’s tempting to get as much “cool stuff” as you can in the photo, yet some of the most beautiful images are very simple.
There is a lot to think about with the foreground. The post processing is also very interesting.
great teacher! So William Neill says you should try and find a scene that has emotional content that engages the viewer.
Hi Hugh. I’m not a very emotional person – and I have no idea what “emotional content that engages” even means. Photos don’t evoke emotions of me per se. I look at it and say “wow” or I don’t. Which I guess is an emotion… but the touchy feely stuff never works for me personally hence me not even understanding the statement 🙂 But everyone is different. Some people say “tell a story”. Photos don’t tell stories to me, so again, everyone just sees it different so if it works for you it works. But those feelings about photos just don’t resonate with me.
in a way I agree wth you. The picture may bring an emotion to the photographer’s memory… but that might not translate to others. For exsmple, I took a great picture (to me) of the narrow snow covered road to the cottage with pine trees covered in snow and blue sky way in the background.
Fun stuff, I really enjoyed the video. I am going to try some of these things out this weekend.
Nice video to help remember some quick basics, and slow down and compose.
Beautiful location .With rocks for foreground detail I like the rocks to have their tops above the water and I would sometimes wet them if possible .With my 18 to 105 lens at the wide end I need to remove the lens hood .I don’t do much landscape work so thanks for the tips .
Most of my work is technical landscape–images for consulting projects with specific content to demonstrate the issues of concern. Once I go “off the clock” I have fun with techniques such as these. Some good ideas here on the framing, especially looking for complementary contours.
Thanks Matt – enjoyed the video
Thanks for the ideas. I’ll give it a try this weekend.
The biggest composition challenge I have is finding the wow factor that makes it art instead of a snapshot.
Hi. I believe that has a lot to do with intent. If you don’t intend on finding a great location, and intend on getting there at the right time, in the right light – it’s going to be difficult to get that “wow factor”. A snapshot implies it’s just a quick snap. More of a documenting history shot, with no intent for a great photo (which starts long before you actually take the photo). If you just walk around hoping a great photo will hit you in the side of the head, you’ll probably be disappointed – though you may get lucky sometimes. But with intention of find a great spot and making a great photo at that spot, you’ll have more success more often.
Thank you Matt, very useful as I generally struggle with landscapes mainly due to lying in bed too long in the morning!
Your point about pre-planning is well made.
Great insight to landscape techniques and editing