A Few Simple but Important Tips on Composition in Landscape Photography

A strong composition is the holy grail of landscape photography, and there are always new things to learn.

In my latest video, I return to the island of Kalsoy in the Faroe Islands. Even though I have been there before, there are always different conditions creating new opportunities for epic photographs. Another benefit of returning to the same location several times is you have probably learned from past mistakes, enabling you to improve on your compositions.

That is exactly what I did. I knew I wanted a new version of the classic wide panoramic perspective. In the video, I show different versions, one from the spring and one from summer. What I do not show is I made six different versions of that panorama with different foregrounds. Having learned from earlier visits, I know how big a difference only a few meters back and forward, left or right makes.

Another tip I share is how cropping your photo can greatly improve it. By using the built-in intervalometer of my Sony a7R III, I got a dramatic perspective with myself modeling in the foreground and showing the northern coastline of the Faroes. Even though my lens were at 200mm when I got the photograph, I ended up cropping the photo from the 42.4 megapixels my camera delivers all the way down to 6.7 megapixels! This vastly changed the final impression of the photo and greatly improved the visual impact. You can see the original with the cropped part in the thumbnail of this article.

I share several other tips in the video, such as the perception of scale and some thoughts on color.

Check out the above and let me hear in the comments if you have some simple tips that can greatly improve your composition. It can be anything from using the grid on your camera display to tilting your tripod.

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

Danish Fine Art Landscape Photographer and YouTuber. He is taking photos all over the world but the main focus is the cold, rough, northern part of Europe. His style is somewhere in between dramatic and colorful fantasy and Scandinavian minimalism. Be sure to check out his YouTube channel for epic landscape photography videos from around the world.

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Well, he's a photographer and has a Youtube channel. Why wouldn't he post up his own experiences so others can learn from.

I watched your video and really liked it!
It's amazing how many image versions you can get out of a raw file. Very beautiful pictures in your video!

Then when we look at landscape photography in general, it looks like it is a cut and paste game. Landscape photographers are working hard to maximize likes on the social media. So the biggest selection of images is fantasy landscapes which on the other hand gives great disappointment to those who travel to these fabulous destinations in hope to shoot something similar.

I don't really think it's necessarily about maximizing likes. If that was the case there are a great many photos I wouldn't release. The editing is more about photographer and his/her vision and mood. I've explained it in some of my earlier videos. It makes sense that so many photographers are making "Fantasy inspired" photos because fantasy has been a huge part of the popculture since the 80's. As a child of the 80's my photos are a reflection of me and my background :)

Very pleased to see you using the word 'tip' rather than 'rule'! There are no 'rules' in composition, or if there are they are for people who can't see the strengths and weaknesses of design in their own or other people's images. So much of photography these days is about technology and we are entering an age where a phone can rival a decent camera for image quality, at least at first glance. Composition, or design, will soon be the only thing left to differentiate between an artist with a camera and the rest of the world.

Great stuff as usual Mads

Great Article Mads. :)

This is a must read people :)