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Nature and Landscape Photography Tips: Composition

Jan 20, 2008
Many people I know have asked me a little more about how they might be able to improve their own photos. By no means do I think I am a complete expert, but as more and more people are taking up photography as a hobby (since digital camera prices, including dSLRs, have been dropping), I figured I might as well try and just offer a few simple tips and advice to keep in mind for budding photographers.

One those occasions when you're lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, you really can admire the beauty of nature. But capturing those picturesque moments is not as easy as it might seem. There are many different aspects to consider when taking landscape and photos, but in this article, I'll just touch on composition.

Composition

In case you aren't already familiar with the Rule of Thirds, it basically states that you should imagine the viewfinder as having lines dividing it into three sections horizontally and three sections vertically. Essentially, it ends up looking like a grid of 9 boxes. The trick is to try and place your subject strategically in the intersections of those lines. Some cameras will actually draw the lines on the LCD screen for you. All you have to really do is just use your imagination and your best judgment. It's really not a hard and fast rule, just a general guideline to try and follow. You don't have to be 100% accurate, and if you're a little off from one third it's not a big deal.

Aim For the Corners

As for myself, I prefer to place the subject in one of the four corners: top left, top right, bottom left, or bottom right. That means I go in from any of the corners diagonally about one third of the way horizontally and one third of the way vertically. I also recommend that when shooting the horizon (which often times you are by definition when taking landscape photos), you place the horizon line along one of those imaginary lines of thirds. That means that the sky should either fill the top 1/3 of the photo, or it should fill the top 2/3 of the photo. Which one to choose? It really depends on the photo and where the main area of interest is. If there's a lot going on in the sky, and not much going on below, then it makes sense to include more sky. On the other hand, if the sky is more of a background then limit it to just 1/3 of the frame and your photo should still turn out looking good.

Hopefully now you have a little bit better of an idea of how you can compose your nature and landscape photos better. Good luck shooting!
About the Author
Ian Spellfield is a professional photographer who focuses on nature and landscape photography and tries to share his knowledge with others looking for digital photography tips.
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