Useful Photography Tip #181: How to Look for Abstracts in Landscape Photography

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One of the reasons why you use telephoto lenses in landscape photography not only has to do with capturing an entire scene, but also being more artistic about the format in one way or another. What some of the more advanced landscape photographers do beyond looking for layers of sky and land is look for shapes in a scene to focus in on and play with. So how do you do this?

  • Crops: Experiment with various crops of your images and try different sizes. Modern cameras have enough megapixels where you can crop for quite a bit.
  • Looking at things on a micro scale: You know how folks like pixel peeping? Don’t pixel peep but instead look at the image closer and make your psyche vulnerable to shapes, tones, etc.
  • Rendering in black and white: One of the easiest ways to do this is to go black and white. Looking for shapes, tones and everything else becomes simpler. You can find so much in a black and white image.
  • Shapes: Circles, lines, leading lines, squiggles, etc. Look for them and keep them in mind. Sometimes even rotating your photo can help.
  • Contrasting colors: Go for at least two colors; no more than three.
  • Think about paintings: Imagine the scene without any sort of details. In fact, try to strip them away in post with stuff like Gaussian blur. I personally really like to think about and bring up Bob Ross. He created paintings of scenes but nothing was incredibly detailed obviously because they were paintings. From this you can recognize in your mind what he was painting. The same goes for Van Gogh and so many others.

Our friends over at Outdoor Photographer have even more tips on how to do this. Head on over and take a look.