Compositional consideration

Compositional consideration

You arrive at a new scene and start shooting with your camera and tripod. then you go home and upload your images and go through them hoping that one of the scenes worked, but they are all missing something… does this sound like your workflow? If so read on…

I am constantly seeing photographers arrive at a scene and they have their camera in front of their eye before they have even looked at a scene. The tripod is quickly set-up and a lot of fiddling occurs at the back of the camera. They are missing one important element to photography technique – ‘Looking’!  Quite often it is the equipment such as sturdy tripods and high end cameras that become obstacles to our ability to see properly.  The heavy duty camera gear is important for making museum quality prints, but if you are not able to spot the subtleties in a nature scene, then you picture wont appear in a museum (unless to rent the wall space).

5 minute rule

My advice on so many occasions is for a photographer to leave their camera in the camera bag and tripod folded up and just stand/ sit and look at what is in front of them for 5 minutes.  What happens over that 5 minutes is usually several visual epiphanies.  You start to spot lines and shapes and details that you hadn’t previously seen.

The difference between a snapshot and photographic art is the inclusion of feeling. Feeling is what the landscape artist attempts to convey in an image. If a photographer cannot feel the scene, how on earth will they ever be able to convey feeling in their shots? If you rush into a scene and snap away without first looking at the scene, there is no way you can feel it. If you can feel the scene, there is no guarantee that you will be able to convey feeling, but you have a much better chance.


Just relax and let your eyes wander. After 5 minutes you will notice things in the scene that I guarantee you didn’t see when you arrived. You eyes will notice finer details, patterns leading lines. The next stage is to analyse which way your eye moves across the scene and from here we compose.

So often I hear the phrase – ‘If I take hundreds of pictures, of of them is bound to be good!’ Why not take those hundred pictures in your mind before saving the good one for your camera? you batteries, shutter curtain and memory cards will be happier.

Svartifoss light

3 is the magic number

3 is the magic number

Simple landscape composition. Three is already a Magic Number in photography. How many legs does a tripod have? It wouldn’t work the same with 4 legs, or 2 legs. Although this is engineering magic and the principle of tripod is much less flexible than visual art, 3 can be magic in landscape photography. It is […]

Cold climates

Cold climates

It is important to keep your feet warm and dry as possible. It is worth investing in strong hiking boots which have good waterproof qualities. If you can, finger a bit of waterproof wax around all the material and stitching on your boots.

Exposing to the right

Exposing to the right

Exposure is a critical element in photography. Until the emergence of Digital photography, it was common practice for landscape photographers to slightly underexpose a photo for better highlight detail and increased saturation.

Photo Gifts

Photo Calendars


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