Seven Ways to Use Composition to Separate Yourself From the Crowd

When it comes to landscape, travel, and outdoor photography it has become relatively easy to see an amazingly beautiful photo taken in a specific location, show up, and capture it for yourself. This video demonstrates seven ways a professional landscape photographer goes about using composition to achieve his personal take on the beautiful locations he visits.

On social media apps like Instagram, it has become a huge problem both for the areas being visited and in my opinion the overall creativity in these photography genres. Every day, I see the same images in the same locations over and over again. For the most part, these are usually well-taken images, beautiful even. However, with the number of images being shared and how much good quality photography we see regularly in our online communities, we have to take the time to use even basic techniques to reexamine our surroundings and try to find new, unique, and still beautiful photos of our favorite locations. 

Coming from the talented landscape photographer and YouTuber Nigel Danson, this video starts with how he examines a location once arriving through to mixing points of interest, lighting, and weather into a composition. Each step and tip walks you through his thought process. One thing I love about his approach is how he takes his time working an area kind of like a fisherman before either giving up and moving on to a new location or getting a keeper. One of the ways I try to avoid falling into typical or trendy compositions is to find an area I like and then just hang out for a bit. I might explore or even just sit for up to an hour if I have the time before finally taking out my camera. 

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7 Comments

Jonathon Rusnak's picture

You cannot teach creativity.

user-156929's picture

I disagree but I usually do. ;-)

Michael DeStefano's picture

But you can teach someone to look for their own unique take on something. That, I think, at least puts them on the road to find their creativity.

That is literally what they do in art classes. In basic design, we would sketch out a concept, then make 4 variations, then more and more until we had at least 20 variations and something that could look quite different from your original concept. When your assignment is "build a sculpture from this cardboard box" you learn to be creative.
Photography classes are the same. They have you do things like take 50 pictures of a fork and you learn to be creative with various angels, lighting, balance, etc. Another was a list of concepts to photograph such as red (yes, the color/concept of red for a black and white film class), wonderful, and a bunch of others. There are plenty of exercises to do to develop creativity just like how improv actors learn by practicing various scenarios.
There are a few good books by the Disney Imagineers that are about the creative process that are a good read.

Ed Sanford's picture

Well done.... great things to think about!

Tom Jobs's picture

Thank you!

That was surprisingly informative - I really liked the way he used multiple examples from his own portfolio to break down how he thinks about things. The idea about 3D is very true, and something I find really easy to forget when I'm in an environment.