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Creating Depth in Landscape Photography

Holly Higbee-Jansen
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Holly Higbee-Jansen

Holly is a passionate photographer, photo workshop leader and instructor for Jansen Photo Expeditions.
Holly Higbee-Jansen
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Latest posts by Holly Higbee-Jansen (see all)

Do you know what it means to create depth
in your landscape photography?

Do your images carry the viewer into the scene and move you from one corner of the image to the other? Are there compelling foregrounds to activate interest?

What about the mid points and distant views of your scene?  How do the light and shadows play in to your composition?  These are all things you need to keep in mind when composing your landscape images. You need to have a clear subject and an intention for your image.

If your image is flat and has no depth to it, the viewer will not linger, but move away quickly. If you have multiple dimensions to your image, it will be a more gratifying experience for the viewer. These dimensions can consist of color, texture, human or inanimate objects, leading lines or even fog and clouds.

When you are composing an image, think about creating a story and stacking elements in your image that will add to the overall view. 

Take for example this image here. Your eye is first drawn to the lighthouse and the dramatic sky. As your eye moves around the frame, more details come into play, like the seagulls in the foreground, or Boney Mountain in the background. When I took this picture during our Channel Islands photo workshop, it was about the story of the beauty of this tiny island off the coast of California only inhabited by seagulls.


Anacapa Island Photography Workshop
Adding a single person to a picture
can add depth to a landscape image. 

Iceland Glaciers photography workshop

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What if you have a landscape image that is so vast that it is hard to get a handle on the size and feel of the subject?

Sometimes, when you add one single element for scale, it will help the viewer get a stronger perspective on the image. This image taken on the glacier, during our Iceland photography workshop, shows my husband, Mark, shooting his camera while standing on a chunk of ice. His small figure gives the image perspective and a human element to a massive natural scene.

 

 

Leading lines, repetition, and texture can also add drama to an image.

Here is another image from the Channel Islands National Park. The narrow island made of volcanic rock gives the leading line a base of texture for the eye to follow out to the lighthouse and into the ocean. This was intentionally composed for more dramatic impact.

Channel Islands Photography WorkshopThink about how you can add more drama to your images with texture, objects, people or leading lines. You will be creating more interesting and compelling compositions.

If you would like to learn more about adding drama and interest to your landscape images, join us for one of our upcoming landscape photography multi-day workshops. We have workshops coming up in incredible locations in Iceland, Big Sur and Yosemite National Park to name a few. Contact us for more information.

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