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What Is It That Makes a Great Landscape Photo?

A good landscape photograph is about more than just an interesting subject and a proper exposure. A good landscape photo is able to capture and keep the viewer's attention by telling a story and evoking feelings. This excellent video essay discusses just what it is that makes a good landscape photograph and how to make them yourself. 

Coming to you from Andrew Marr, the great video essay discusses just what it is that makes a good landscape photo. You will often notice that the best landscape photographers create intricate, nuanced images that have multiple layers and that draw the viewer's eye into the scene and naturally across the image. This is often the result of much more than simply showing up to a good location and taking a properly exposed image with nice light. The top landscape photographers often spend considerable time conceiving of and planning a shot before they even arrive at a location, seeking to unify creative ideas with the environment at large. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Marr.

If you would like to continue learning about landscape photography, check out "Photographing The World 1: Landscape Photography and Post-Processing with Elia Locardi." 

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Casper Maarly's picture

What makes a great landscape photo is David Muench, the pre-eminent Large Format Landscape Photographer in the US. Look at his work through the decades and you will get an education on how it is done.

Eric Robinson's picture

While there is no doubt that Muench is a very skilled photographer of the ‘majestic American landscape’ that is only one sub genre where his approach and techniques work. His work screams out and there is little demanded of the viewer to appreciate it. It’s obvious to everyone with the vistas themselves doing so much of the work.
Travel elsewhere to a more unforgiving photographic landscape where the images are not so obvious then an entirely different approach is required.
Fay Godwin, English landscape photographer is entirely different in every conceivable aspect. Her images are quiet in comparison not relying on any inherent landscape grandeur. One could argue that her approach requires a greater degree of seeing to find and craft the shot.
Taking great landscape images is more that shooting the obvious. While both Godwin and Muench photograph the landscape they could be said to be ends of a very wide spectrum. Trying to establish what constitutes a great landscape image by looking at the work of one photographer would in my opinion result in a very narrow view of what landscape photography is and what makes for a great shot.