Choosing the Perfect Subject for Landscape Photography

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Whether you’re a professional photographer or a budding hobbyist, one of the many challenges you might face is choosing the perfect subject for landscape photography.

The term landscape was initially introduced to the English dictionary as a term for describing art, though its use has expanded with time. This form of photography tries to capture the beauty of the Earth while conveying appreciation for the wonders of the natural world.


Regardless of where you live, there are probably some really great landscape scenes nearby. Take a drive around the countryside and keep your eyes open for possibility. Perhaps there’s an old farmhouse or beautiful creek that runs near your home. Odds are, you’ve already passed a hundred suitable spots in your daily life. Take the time to think of some of the places where you’ve gone for walks or a drive.

Make a list of possible places and ask your friends if they have ideas. Try scouting potential areas at different times of day to see what the natural play of the sunlight brings out. Scenes change as the sun moves across the land. Something ordinary can become extraordinary with just a shift of light.

Don’t Be Afraid To Follow The Footsteps of Others

Take some time to look at what the landscape photography pros have done in the past. This is particularly helpful if the photographer lives in your general area. Don’t be afraid to look at their shots of local landscapes and think of ways you can improve on what they’ve done.

The same subject from a slightly different angle can become something entirely new and different. If their contact information is available, reach out and ask if the photographer has any special places they’d be willing to share.

If you are going on a trip, look up photographers in that area and check out their galleries. The internet is a wonderful place to find ideas for photography. With just a few key strokes, you can come up with places that others have photographed and get a pretty good idea of how those photos turned out. Some photographers plan an entire vacation around landscape opportunities.

Know What You’re Looking For

There are many factors that can affect how your landscape photography will turn out. Make sure you consider the most important details when choosing where to go.

  • Make sure the light is right
  • The right creative composition
  • How you will set up

As mentioned before, the light can make or break your photo opportunity. Some photographers swear that you can use no better light than that of the rising sun. Still others would argue that a sunset provides much more depth and color. Regardless of your preference, make sure you choose a location that will receive just the light you want at the time you plan to shoot. Some areas are geographically located to receive their best sunlight at only one time of day.

When choosing your scene, consider the geographical elements and how they will interact with one another in the photo. Ask yourself what stands out. What about the scene interests you?

Don’t forget your rule of thirds, symmetry, and the golden ratio. A mirroring effect on water can be striking. A lone building or tree on a flat plain can appear intriguing. Play around with the scene and see what you can come up with. Most spots have several opportunities for a composition that will result in a breathtaking landscape photo.

Once you’ve chosen what you want to photograph, make sure you find a good place to set up. The position of your tripod is critical for landscape photography and you will need a stable area to set it. As you’re scouting the area for the scene you want to shoot, look at the ground as well for places to occupy as you wait for just the right lighting and atmosphere. Be aware of any hazards that might cause you harm while your attention is focused on the camera.

Whether you prefer rolling hills, winding riverbeds, rocky formations, or the lonesome prairie at sunset, the world is full of opportunities for beautiful landscape photography. Keep an eye out for potential settings you might pass every day.

Remember to do some research on your subject. Surf the internet for ideas and look for the photographs of those who’ve gone before you. Use the sun to guide you and watch as the scene shifts with its shining rays. That perfect landscape is out there waiting for your camera. You just have to find it.