Common Landscape Photography Composition Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Landscape photography can be very challenging in a lot of ways, particularly when it comes to creating effective and compelling compositions. This excellent video will show you some common compositional mistakes in landscape photography and what you can do to avoid them in the first place.

Coming to you from Mark Denney, this helpful video details common compositional mistakes in landscape photography and shows you how to improve your images by avoiding them. Though there are many mistakes, the one that likely took me the longest to truly understand is the importance of including a foreground element in photos. A lot of landscape photography revolves around capturing large, arresting scenes, which often necessitates the use of wide angle lenses. These lenses tend to push the background away and reduce it in size, and without a foreground element to lead the viewer's eye into the image, they can make what's otherwise an impressive scene look small and dull. Including something as simple as a carefully placed rock can make all the difference. Check out the video above to hear all of Denney's helpful tips.

And if you really want to dive into landscape photography, check out "Photographing the World 1: Landscape Photography and Post-Processing!"

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Of course it's true that, if you need a wide angle to capture the scene as you envision it, you have to be aware of a potentially boring, distracting or messy foreground.
But I think this "find some rock or flower" thing has to stop.
It has become so annoying to see all these landscape photographs which are in fact all the same. Always these rocks with mountains or sunrises in the background.
Fact is: If you didn't need "something", you most probably wouldn't have bothered with that stupid rock at all. You wanted to capture that glorious mountain scenery or sunrise, not some rocks or herbage! How artistic is it to include something in an image just because you"somehow need it"??
So, what is the solution?
STOP always using those wide angle lenses, stop thinking that "landscape means 16-35mm".
First try to find out whether perhaps a composition with longer focal length, depicting only a smaller part of the scene, would even be better.
If not, shoot a PANORAMA. Very easy to do nowadays, even hand held.
Or crop to a panoramic format.

Stuart Carver's picture

I agree with the foreground element part, it does create a whole lot of very similar looking shots.

Eckhardt Kriel's picture

Some great tips and comments! Thanks.