Mark’s Quick Tips: Pictures with Purpose

With so many images being produced these days, it becomes more important than ever to lock in an eye-catching story. Storytelling and purpose is the cornerstone of photography once you’ve mastered the fundamentals.

Telling a good story is a task that many fall short on in photography. Some have an innate natural ability to do this, while others struggle. No worries, it can be mastered by a few conscious steps.

In landscape photography, inserting yourself within the proper elements must be calculated, using structure and atmosphere and timing. For example, colorful sunsets alone will only get you so far in this era of non-stop images being produced. Building a great story around your sunset is essential!

The next time you’re at the beach and you see a great sunset forming, even before you set up your tripod, look around. Strive to incorporate it into a story with a purpose. Seek a tangible blueprint of sorts. If the sky is clear without clouds, lower your composition with less sky and seek an interesting foreground through structure instead. Find your foreground perhaps from that shapely clump of seaweed strewn out on the beach or maybe work in that jetty of rocks you see nearby to form a leading line.

If something in the distance can be added without distraction, such as a singular silhouette of a surfer or sailboat, add it. Look for an estuary as it drains into the ocean, eroding the sand away. Use outgoing surf and a slow shutter speed to create lines of interest. Don’t be afraid to drop your tripod to a low point and seek a rock or seashell as your subject, pushing it into a forced perspective using a super wide angle lens. Refine your objectives by adding or leaving things out.

Simplicity rules in any strong landscape photograph. Using any of these techniques will make your colorful sunset pop, holding the interest of the viewer and making your images stand out from the rest!

All the best,

Mark Jansen

Posted in

Mark’s interest in photography and love for landscape photography draws him into some amazing places and he freely shares this knowledge on his photography workshops. He researches his subjects extensively, making many trips to selected areas waiting for the perfect light, an interesting approach to the subject, and just the right moment. His goal of "freezing time for others to enjoy" is what drives him to create his visions and teach workshops.

Mark offers photographic workshops in numerous U.S. and International locations with his business, Jansen Photo Expeditions. He is an expert and personable instructor, expedition leader and award winning, visionary photographer. 

Mark has over 25 years of professional fine art and photographic experience. He has a passion for landscape and classic aviation photography and provides large scale commercial installations of his fine art photographic murals and print works throughout California. He works with both small and large corporate businesses in helping them project a powerful impact through his images.


About Mark and Holly
Mark and Holly Jansen
Jansen Photo Expeditions
(805) 701-8807 or


Email Sign Up
Scroll to Top