The Components of Creating Fine Art Landscape Photographs
What questions should you be asking yourself when trying to create or evaluate a fine art landscape photograph?
Fine artwork, whether digital or created using a paintbrush, depends on three components: framing, perspective, and balance. Framing is the first step as I am looking through my camera lens. Where should I aim the camera? What should lie within the edges of the photograph?
Perspective and balance go hand in hand. Perspective is knowing where to plant my camera tripod in relation to the scene and what kind of lens I use. Balance is determining the visual weight – how to “push” the viewer’s attention to the landscape elements in the photograph….am I trying to draw them to one central point or do I want them to see the scene in its entirety? Techniques such as “Focus Stacking” are an important aspect of creating a unique fine art photograph.
What are the Three Landscape Photography Styles?
If you were to Google “types of landscape photography” or “styles of landscape photography” you would see many different results. Some types may refer to the location; some relate to the photographic technique; others would note the time of day such as sunrise or sunset. For me, I lean towards viewing fine art landscape photographs through three style lenses:
- Location Stye: these photographs emphasize the actual beauty of a particular landscape such as seascapes, mountains, and forests. The Location Style includes landscape photography that can be dramatic or, peaceful and calm.
- Photographic Style: is also known as wide-format or panoramic photography and is perfect for sweeping vistas. The landscape photographer takes multiple photographs with slightly overlapping fields and stitches them together using stitching software. The end result: landscape photography that captures the depth of a “take your breath away” landscape scene.
- Time of Day Style: also known as Sunrise/Sunset photography and is more challenging than simply clicking the camera when the sun appears or disappears. There are various factors to take into account such as the location of the sun on the horizon in regards to the other landscape targets; cloud cover; and the position of the sun as it changes all year round. It is also one of the best times for landscape photography as that time of day provides the photographer with warm colors in the sky and the effect of the light is easier to control.
Landscape Photography: Tools and Techniques
Over the years, I have experimented with various equipment and techniques to capture the beauty of the scene in front of me. At a minimum, the tools to create fine art landscape photography are:
- Camera: I use the higher-resolution and larger-format digital cameras as I have found they provide a greater amount of detail which is critical in creating landscape photography that draws you into the photograph.
- Lens: for wide-open spaces, a wide-angle lens is needed for many landscape photography scenes but I also carry medium-range telephoto lenses in my camera backpack which allows me to capture detailed scenery while standing at a greater distance. On some occasions, I have had great success with a macro lens for extreme close-up photographs.
- Medium: the digital sensor: the sensitivity to light is important in landscape photography and the settings will change depending on the brightness of the daylight or cloudy skies.
- Lighting: normally landscape photography is done with naturally occurring light. Light at dawn or dusk is considered the best for capturing detail, showing the scenes in the best colors of light.
- Shutter Speed: a landscape photographer often chooses settings that allow all of the viewed areas to be in sharp focus. There may be some times when I have deliberately slowed the shutter speed to smooth out the movement … such as rushing water in a river or waterfall scene.
- Filters: can serve a wide range of purposes in landscape photography. A polarizing filter can cut glare from the water or snow allowing the surface features to show with sharper clarity
- Camera Tripod: last but not least, tripods are an important tool for me as they reduce any shaking associated with hand-holding a camera and reduce the effects of vibration or wind.
How Important is Digital Darkroom Work as a part of a Photographer’s Artistic Tool Kit
Once the camera shutter clicks, the artistic process is not finished….. it is just beginning. There is the meticulous attention to colors and light that allows me to produce landscape photographs with amazing detail. Just as a painter will try various shades of blue to create the perfect sky, I work with colors and tones to bring out more clearly the natural features of the landscape.
As you view many of my fine art landscape photographs you will get a sense of depth. This is not the result of a simple camera click but hours of adjusting colors, tones, and shadows to bring the picture to life. Some of this knowledge has been self-taught and some learned from attending photo workshops.
What is Fine Art Landscape Photography?
As I note in my article, What Does Fine Art Photography Mean, fine art landscape photography is not merely a picture of a moment in time. Fine art photography is the attempt by the photographer to carefully create a photograph that conveys the depth and beauty felt while standing there…. a landscape photograph that makes you want to go physically to that place and write your own adventure story.
My collectible fine art landscape prints are of the highest quality and provide you, the fine art collector, with a landscape photograph that would be a worthy focal point in your home or office.
Why Buy a Fine-Art Print from my Landscape Photography Gallery?
So, why buy a fine art print from me? As an artist, my meticulous attention to composition, light, camera operation, and image processing allows me to produce very large landscape prints with amazing detail. I use only world-class materials and printers to bring it all together.
My tag line “Bring Home the Experience” stems from my desire to create a fine art photograph that will transport you from where you are standing to a place you have loved or, to a place you dream of going to.
Whichever it is, the goal is to create a fine art landscape print that deserves more than a quick glance but instead creates the desire to feel and be connected to the nature and beauty around you….. which makes my fine art landscape photography truly worthy of a place in your home or office.