Creative Landscape Photography Tips

Jul 28, 2020

There are endless iconic landscape scenes that photographers from all over the world flock to photograph. Sometimes it seems that everyone has the same image at the same location. With the Canadian Rockies as my playground, many of the places I repeatedly visit are iconic and have been captured by talented photographers and vacationers alike. In addition to these iconic locations, I have my favourite landscape scenes that I return to often. Conditions are always changing due to weather, time of year, and light, but I'm still photographing the same scene. There are a few things I can do to infuse creativity into my images when I'm capturing a similar location often or one that has been published many times over. Here are some of my favourite ways in which I can add creativity to famous landscape scenes.

1. Long exposure 

Long exposure is one of my very favourite creative techniques in landscape photography. The human eye is not capable of seeing a scene in long exposure; therefore, this technique is instantly different from how a landscape is viewed in person. Long exposure is an attractive and unique way in which to infuse creativity into your images. 

ISO 100, 16mm, f14, 67sec

2. Change up perspective 

A change in perspective can be a powerful way in which to photograph a popular scene. Look for ways to be creative with your perspective. It's worthwhile to get down low or shoot from above. Walk around your scene and look at your subject from new and unique viewpoints. There are often many opportunities in which to photograph a landscape scene from a non-typical perspective.

For example, the image below is not the typical view for capturing The Valley of the Ten Peaks at Moraine Lake. However, it does offer a unique perspective of a few of the popular peaks and infuses variety and creativity into my collection of images for this famous location.  

ISO 100, 19mm, f13, 3sec

3. Break the rules

A strong composition is an essential element within photography, but knowing when to break traditional composition rules can help infuse creativity into your images. Typically, I compose landscape images using the Rule of Thirds; however, sometimes, it's worth breaking this rule when there's a compelling element, like a beautiful sky. Think about what works best for the scene you are planning on photographing and how you might be able to use composition to showcase a scene unfolding before you in a creative way.

ISO 100, 27mm, f13, 180sec

4. Frame

Framing a landscape scene is a great way in which to infuse creativity into an image. Frames add fantastic foreground elements and can infuse depth and visual interest into an image. For familiar scenes, look for opportunities in which you can frame your subject and infuse this touch of creativity. 

ISO100, 16mm, f13, 1/4sec

5. Experiment 

It's amazing what can come out of a simple experiment. Trying different settings than your typical is a great way in which to experiment with a scene and infuse creativity into your image. Experimenting is often a fun way to learn, as well. I know that I usually come away with greater photography knowledge when I try something new. Don't be afraid to play around with settings such a shutter speed and white balance. 

ISO 100, 16mm, f13, 30sec

6. Foreground changes 

Look for opportunities in which to change up a typical foreground. Like perspective, a simple change in foreground elements will infuse creativity and diversity into iconic scenes that you regularly photograph. Look for elements such as creek beds, logs or rocks and compose your image in a way that includes them in your foreground.  

ISO 100, 19mm, f14, 150sec

Next time you are out photographing landscapes, don't be afraid to change things up a bit. Open yourself up to the creative potentials inherent within landscape photography. As you seek out more creativity within your images, you'll add variety to the images you capture and ultimately expand your photography knowledge.  

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