Stall Your Viewer by Leading Their Eye Through the Landscape

How long do you spend looking at an image on Facebook versus an art gallery? The duration we spend admiring someone’s work depends on the context, but to what extent can you stall viewers on your own landscape photography?

Like a good storyline, a photograph can arrest the viewer’s attention by revealing the subjects as they rove the image. But often, mediocre storylines hide behind stunning colors and unusual formats. To strip away this disguise, it helps to break the image down into three components: composition, shapes, and lighting.

In my own portfolio, panoramas are often missing one of these elements: the ultra-wide format can overemphasize the horizon and distant background without a strong foreground subject or compelling middle ground, but because of the unusual format, I have difficulty identifying why the image doesn’t work.

Turning the image upside down can help you reestablish objectivity if you decide to edit the shot, and critiquing it first will produce valuable insights for your next shoot. However, sometimes, the critique itself tends to build an echo chamber for your own tastes.

How do you critique (or get critique on) your work, and does it help you break down why the image did or didn’t work out?

Jonathan Lee Martin's picture

Jonathan Lee Martin is a fine art landscape photographer, educator and globetrotting digital nomad. He’s traveling the world for a year to discover unique landscapes and help fellow landscape photographers lighten their load to go further.

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This was an excellent video. Thanks so much Jonathan!

Thanks for taking time to say so, Steven!