What makes a Good Landscape Photo?
In general, there are several elements that gain the initial interest of the viewer, Bold colour, Unique textures, Simple shapes and Appealing curves. However, there are many other considerations. Photography is often referred to as drawing with light. That is the translation of the word photography. Photographers draw with light as they capture the scene in front of them when the shutter is fired off. Whether it is images of the Rocky Mountains, the vase on the table or any other subject, in colour or black and white, photography is drawing with light! While having bold colours, textures, shapes and curves in your landscape image, is that enough to make it a good image?
Landscape photography has ( arguably) 3 major styles: Representational, Abstract and Impressionistic. And while the elements mentioned above, and the elements of graphic design, play significant roles in making a “good” photographic image, they have differing impacts and roles depending on the style of landscape image you are viewing or wish to take. For me, as a Landscape Photographer taking pictures of the Rocky Mountains, it is a fun and intriguing challenge to get the elements – colour, texture, shape and light – all aligned, and then composed to make an impactful landscape mountain photo. I work in the Canadian Rockies and Banff, Jasper, Yohoo and Kootenay National Parks. So my pictures of the Rocky Mountains, most would classify, as Representational photography. Though not all are, and this is why trying to classify one’s work as any one style, is always subjective.
The Representational style aims to give the viewer a realistic representation of the scene – no props or artificial components are added! It is also called straight or descriptive photography. With Abstract the goal is more to stimulate a strong emotion in the viewer still using colour, tone, texture and lines/shapes. Some would say this is a more creative endeavour with your images. Impressionist photography is an impression of life and focuses on capturing atmosphere, light and movement while not prioritizing sharpness ( not focus ). Regardless of the style, regardless of the type ( Mountain Photography, Seascapes, Forests, Sunrise/Sunset, Long Exposure, Time-lapse or Panoramas – it is still drawing with light!