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3 Tips I Use for Landscape Photography

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The biggest composition challenge / or skill I have is…

143 Comments

  1. Kathy Burton

    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 !

    Reply
  2. Neala

    Thank you for sharing these insights and how you work to improve your thoughtfully composed images.

    Reply
  3. Deborah Surbaugh

    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?

    Reply
  4. Donna Walsh

    Excellent video. I will try these tips!

    Reply
  5. Dale Stoltman

    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!

    Reply
    • Matt

      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.

      Reply
  6. Moira Thumm

    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.

    Reply
  7. Ignacio B Pessoa

    “Get away from the technical stuff” should be the mantra to be recited at the start of every landscape and nature photo shoot!

    Reply
  8. Lynn Meyer-Mountjoy

    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!!!

    Reply
  9. Jay Huron

    “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.

    Reply
  10. Catherine page

    thanks for these suggestions. landscape is definitely what I struggle with. I keep working away at developing good composition! The editing suggestions are great.

    Reply
  11. David Arkin

    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.

    Reply
    • Angela

      Yes! Totally agree. Genius editing trick!

      Reply
  12. Bari Tarmon

    Hi Matt,
    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…

    Reply
    • Matt

      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!

      Reply
      • Ron

        Go with your gut, not what others may like! I agree. Thx Matt fir the help.

        Reply
  13. Stephen Polevoy

    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?

    Reply
  14. Katie

    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!

    Reply
  15. Glenn Disney

    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.

    Reply
    • Matt

      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.

      Reply
      • Karen

        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.

        Reply
  16. Dan Patton

    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!

    Dan

    Reply
    • Kent Spaulding

      Skip Gatlinburg and go to Cades Cove. You won’t be disappointed.

      Reply
  17. Jacquelyn

    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!

    Reply
    • Joel

      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.

      Reply
  18. Richard Feaster

    Great! Again!
    Most of my shooting is landscapes and your video was very helpful. Looking forward to your course.

    Reply
  19. Bob Gantner

    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.

    Reply
    • Matt

      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”. 🙂

      Reply
  20. Bob P.

    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!

    Reply
  21. Larry Lehman

    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?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Matt

      Love it. It’s the only ballhead I now use because I can use it for Wildlife and landscapes.

      Reply
  22. Ralph

    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.

    Reply
  23. Bonnie

    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.

    Reply
  24. Cathy

    Great techniqes to keep in mind. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us!

    Reply
  25. Teresa Walker

    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.

    Cheers.

    Reply
  26. Tony Dodd

    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.

    Reply
  27. Graham D'Aucourt

    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.

    Reply
    • Matt

      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!

      Reply
      • Jay Huron

        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.

        Reply
        • Matt

          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.

          Reply
  28. Cindy Hollingsworth

    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.

    Reply
  29. Marion Jackson

    Thanks Matt great techniques and editing. Amazing what I have picked up watching your video.

    Reply
  30. Joseph Worrick

    Hi Matt,
    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,
    Joe W.

    Reply
    • Colin

      Really enjoyed the video. Some excellent tips.

      Reply
  31. Pieter Noordzij

    Hi Matt.
    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.

    Reply
    • John

      Hi Matt

      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.

      Reply
    • Jeff

      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

      Reply
  32. Robert Whiteley

    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

    Reply
  33. Brian

    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?

    Reply
    • Vicki

      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.

      Reply
  34. Nancy Turek

    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.

    Reply
    • Tom

      Hi Matt
      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

      Reply
  35. sudarsankannan

    Hi Matt
    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..

    Thanks
    Ramesh

    Reply
    • Matt

      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.

      Reply
  36. Lesley Lorraine Halligan

    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

    Reply
    • Matt

      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.

      Reply
  37. Nicole

    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!

    Reply
    • Vicki

      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 😉

      Reply
  38. Doug O.

    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?

    Reply
    • Matt

      Nope. And if it did I’d see the blinkies on the back of the camera and adjust my settings.

      Reply
  39. Phillip

    Thanks for the informative video. I will take the information you shared and practice the window technique.

    Reply
  40. Michael Taylor

    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.

    Reply
  41. Wayne Hall

    Well impressed and really hope I take the hints onboard based on your result.

    Reply
  42. Randall Sherman

    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.

    Reply
    • DK

      That’s a FlexShooter Pro.

      Reply
  43. Lenka

    Thanks Matt, enjoyed the video!

    Reply
  44. Richard Smith

    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.

    Reply
  45. dean

    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.

    Reply
    • Matt

      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!

      Reply
  46. Bob

    Providing these insights (and in bite-sized portions) is sincerely appreciated!

    Reply
  47. Gary

    Once again,
    Thank you Matt,
    Been chasing wildlife all those years, and have completely forgotten about landscape, well, until the Z9
    Much appreciated,
    …………. Gary
    …………………AU

    Reply
    • Stephen Polevoy

      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
      Stephen

      Reply
      • Matt

        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.

        Reply
  48. Jules

    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.

    Reply
  49. Richard Stanley

    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!

    Reply
    • Matt

      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.

      Reply
  50. Jon Minott

    Matt – you are a Rock Star! You packed a lot of insight and education into a short video. Thank you.

    Reply
  51. Al

    Thanks for sharing Matt. I plan to use your techniques next time I’m shooting landscapes.

    Reply
  52. Bob

    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.

    Reply
  53. Dave Porter

    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.

    Reply
  54. johnhjr44@outlook.com

    Matt,
    Do you shoot most of your landscapes like the lake in ID. at F16, ISO 100, Ap priority

    Reply
    • Matt

      Yep!

      Reply
  55. Ed Evans

    Watched free video. I think your tips were excellent and I for one didn’t think about landscapes like that. Thanks very much.

    Reply
  56. Michael Allie

    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!

    Reply
  57. Bruce Hale

    Good ideas, Matt.

    Reply
  58. hal barwick

    great ideas i cant wait to practise but like you living in florida ( orlando ) its a little challenging

    Reply
  59. Terry Lee

    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.

    Reply
  60. Julie Buza

    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.

    Reply
  61. Joan

    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.

    Reply
    • Matt

      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.

      Reply
  62. Ted Simard

    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.

    Reply
  63. Albert L Phillips Jr

    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!
    Thanks, Al

    Reply
    • Nancy Carroll

      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!

      Reply
  64. Frank Furbish

    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.

    Reply
    • Matt

      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.

      Reply
  65. Emily

    Always interesting and helpful ideas in capturing landscape and editing. Thankyou.

    Reply
  66. Richard Duckworth

    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.

    Reply
  67. Marg Duncan

    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

    Reply
  68. Georgette Grossman

    I am not a landscape photographer so these were some good tips! Many thanks!!

    Reply
  69. Ginny Wood

    Thanks Matt, another very informative video

    Reply
  70. Tony D

    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.

    Reply
  71. Trenna Sonnenschein

    Thank you so much. This was a very informative video; you gave me some things to consider that I hadn’t thought of before.

    Reply
  72. Sandy Parks

    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.

    Reply
  73. Don Crosswhite

    Matt your video is very practical and helpful….I learned…….and that is great….Thank you!!

    Reply
  74. Rod Menzies

    An excellent and holistic presentation

    Reply
  75. Betty Saunders

    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.

    Reply
  76. Daryl DeHart

    Very nice, thank you

    Reply
  77. orcaspest

    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. 🙂

    Reply
  78. Sandra

    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.

    Reply
  79. Pam Lake

    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!

    Reply
  80. Judy

    Cool Tips, I really appreciate you including your camera settings on the photos.

    Reply
  81. Tom Herrington

    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.

    Reply
  82. WILLIAM WATSON

    Thanks. informative as always

    Reply
  83. John Robert Wilkinson

    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.

    Reply
    • Matt

      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.

      Reply
  84. Jack Goodman

    Do you try to balance the photo so not too heavy on one side or the other?

    Reply
  85. Lana

    Very helpful. Thanks!

    Reply
  86. Joan

    Loved the video — quick review — doable and practical tips……

    Reply
  87. Saverio Pellicano

    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?

    Reply
    • Matt

      Thanks! Yes it was Little Redfish Lake – outside of Sun Valley.

      Reply
  88. Gene Berkenbile

    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!
    Gene

    Reply
  89. Mike Donovan

    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!

    Reply
  90. ChristopherPreu

    Excellent insight into landscape technique. Keep the great tips coming.

    Reply
  91. Jill McKinlay

    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.

    Reply
  92. Robbin

    Biggest take-away from this video for me . . I need to slow down and look (now my mantra)

    Reply
    • Rosalind L Johnson

      Thank you for adding a dimension of art to photography…I haven’t used Lightroom yet but am looking forward to it…nice work!

      Reply
  93. Richard Paul Handler

    Matt, you are so good at simplifying the process, and also analytical at understanding why certain things work.

    Reply
  94. Colin Barnett

    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.

    Reply
  95. Harry Lewkowicz

    There is a lot to think about with the foreground. The post processing is also very interesting.

    Reply
  96. hugh harper

    great teacher! So William Neill says you should try and find a scene that has emotional content that engages the viewer.
    Sounds good..tips??

    Reply
    • Matt

      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.

      Reply
      • hugh harper

        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.

        Reply
  97. Mike

    Fun stuff, I really enjoyed the video. I am going to try some of these things out this weekend.

    Reply
  98. Michael Parnes

    Thanks Matt
    Nice video to help remember some quick basics, and slow down and compose.

    Reply
  99. EdwardMcCavana

    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 .

    Reply
    • Russ C

      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.

      Reply
  100. joan

    Thanks Matt – enjoyed the video

    Reply
  101. Jim Webster

    Thanks for the ideas. I’ll give it a try this weekend.

    Reply
  102. Jagdeep Shah

    beginner/intermediate

    Reply
  103. Lisa

    The biggest composition challenge I have is finding the wow factor that makes it art instead of a snapshot.

    Reply
    • Matt

      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.

      Reply
      • Peter Oosthuizen

        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.

        Reply
  104. Rod McKenzie

    Great insight to landscape techniques and editing

    Reply

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