Bringing In Outside Elements To Make Your Photos More Interesting
As I’ve pointed out before, my area of focus is wedding and portrait photography. But, like anyone else, I like to snap some pics of landscapes now and then. One thing that I’ve noticed is that some scenes lend themselves better to being photographed than others. You might walk up on a beautiful vista and behold that everything you need to make a great photo is right there in front of you, or will be given a slight adjustment in shooting angle. And then there are those views that are “almost” worth photographing… They have a couple of nice elements, but don’t really tell a complete story. In these cases, I usually find a hot girl to stand in the frame and I find that does the trick just fine. But what if you can’t find a hot girl? Well then, I’d say lose 20 lbs, stop wearing those JNCO jeans that you’ve had since ’94… Well, that’s your problem. But we can still make a more interesting photo while you work on yourself.
What would MacGyver do? If he were a photographer, that is. He’d find something nearby to make the photo better and, possibly, explode. You see, for a landscape photo to work, it needs all or at least most of the basic elements of composition to be in place. Stuff like the “Rule Of Thirds”, leading lines, foreground interest, etc. It can be difficult to find a setting where all of these are laid out before you, so sometimes, you have to make it happen yourself. I pulled off the road near Branson, Missouri to take the photo above because the sunset was just gorgeous. Sunsets don’t last long, so I jumped out of my car and quickly fired off a shot, took a look, and realized right away that it was just a snapshot. The horizon is dead center, the lines of the water don’t lead you anywhere interesting in the photo, and worst of all, there is no foreground interest. Ewww. Now what, Mr. 80’s Television?
I remembered seeing some Black Eyed Susans, a weed that grows wild in the ditches around here with yellow flowers, as I was driving to the spot where I took the shot. I ran the run of a beefy gent about 1/4 of a mile to where I had seen them and picked a few. I placed them in an empty, 52 0z. gas station soda cup…part of the reason for my being a beefy gent…and sat them a few yards from where I was shooting. As you can see, this simple act made the photo much stronger. Now we have foreground interest. The flowers, which are now the focal point, follow the rule of thirds, as does the horizon which I framed higher up in the composition this time. Is it the greatest photo of all time? No. But it doesn’t look like your Aunt Ruth’s vacation snapshot either, so that’s a win. See what you can find lying around to enhance your scene the next time Ma Nature isn’t playing ball. You’ll be glad you did.
Brad Williams is a contributing photographer to PhotolisticLife. If you you’ve got something to say or share then contact us using the “Contact” link at the top of the page. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below.