Creativity and Landscape Photography

The Creative Landscape Photographer

May 09, 2023

Wikipedia defines landscape photography as "Landscape photography shows the spaces within the world, sometimes vast and unending, but other times microscopic."

If you were to watch me in the field enjoying my approach to landscape photography, you'd most often find me reaching for my wide-angle lenses. Those expansive and vast scenes always captivate me. There's nothing quite as thrilling as looking out over a valley after a challenging climb to a summit and enjoying endless views. However, there's incredible beauty at your feet as well...

Most of you know that my background is in portraiture. My unquenchable passion for photography began with photographing my children's everyday moments as they grew. My style for outdoor portraiture was filled with backlit flare, sparkly bokeh and creative approaches. Focusing on the smaller scenes in landscape fuels my enjoyment of creative portraiture, with my subjects no longer being my children but those tiny elements in a landscape setting like flowers and mushrooms. 

Here are some tips for those who might want to explore your creative approach to the tiny world of landscape photography.

1. Use a macro or creative lens like a Lensbaby

Tiny is, well...tiny! Showcasing your main subject in a macro scene is just as crucial as composing your subject with strength in a wide-angle setting. Macro lenses and other creative lenses like Lensbabys allow you to get up nice and close to your subject, eliminating possible environmental distractions. 

ISO 200, 105mm, f3.5, 1/1000 SS

2. Prioritize shutter speed

Even a slight breeze will result in movement in the micro world. A fast shutter speed will help eliminate blur and keep parts of the subject in sharp focus. Depending on the wind strength, I recommend shutter speeds of around 1/250 SS or higher for many landscape macro scenes. 

The use of a tripod is not mandatory for macro landscape photos. However, it can help prevent motion blur from hand-holding the camera. However, creative lenses like Lensbabys and techniques like freelensing are often best-executed hand-held. 

3. Use a wide aperture 

Wide-angle landscape images are best captured with those mid-range apertures, which offer a larger and sharper depth of field. Macro landscape photos can be captured with wider apertures. These apertures result in a beautiful portrait look. Experiment with apertures to find the one that best speaks to your level of creative blur. 

ISO 200, 105mm, f3.5, 1/1000 SS

4. Embrace creativity

In the field, I not only use a wider aperture to isolate my macro subject and create images filled with pretty broken and shallow depth of field, but I also relish experimenting with optical and light distortion props like a prism, copper tube, glass, lace, lighting effects and more. 

Sparkles, blur, bokeh and even creative editing with colour and overlays are also a "YES PLEASE!" when I edit my macro landscape photos. 

I enjoy the opportunity to play around with creativity and encourage you to do so too! 

ISO 200, 105mm, f3.5, 1/1000 SS

When capturing those wide-angle landscape scenes, don't forget to also pay attention to what is hiding in the smaller elements of that setting. Those elements are worth capturing too! 

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