As the saying goes: “Composition makes or breaks a photo.” This is particularly true when shooting complicated outdoor scenes. The tutorial below will help take your images from “meh” to WOW with a few simple framing techniques for maximum impact.
Danish pro Mads Per Iversen is one of our favorite landscape photographers, and a really great instructor. Today he shares what he’s learned throughout the years, with several simple methods you can begin using today.
In this behind-the scenes episode from the Blavandshuk lighthouse on the western coast of Denmark, Iversen demonstrates several common composition mistakes that you may be guilty of making yourself. Then he illustrates a more compelling way to frame several images in both color and bw.
Iversen begins with a very common image-killing error; namely, including too much foreground in a shot. This is particularly important when the foreground is boring or cluttered, and when most of the interest is further in the distance.
If you’ve followed our tutorials in the past, you’re no doubt familiar with a framing concept known as the Rule of Thirds. But as you’ll see, this guideline is only effective when you use it properly (and many photographers don’t).
Iverson’s other tips involve the best use of angles and perspectives, and the importance of eliminating distracting elements when framing a shot. He also demonstrates what he means by “keeping edges clean.”
All outdoor scenes are a bit different, so the approach you take greatly depends upon the challenge at hand. For example, Iversen has specific tips for composing sunset shots, but you wouldn't use these for other types of photos. However, one of the solutions he provides will work for most scenes you will encounter.
After watching the video, head over to Iversen’s YouTube channel for more outdoor photography tips and tricks.
And be sure to watch another tutorial we posted, with several methods for minimizing noise when shooting outdoors.