POST PROCESSING FOR NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY
High quality curated Nature Photography Lightroom & Photoshop Tutorials to take your post processing to the next level.
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As a landscape photographer, you probably already have an emotional connection to nature. But, how do you invoke emotion and convey the love, sense of awe, and that take-your-breath away beauty within the confines of a four-sided frame? How do you create images that are more emotionally engaging? Here are few ideas for creating emotionally engaging landscape photography:
Observe your own emotions in the scene. Whatever emotion you feel toward your subject will be reflected in your photographs. Before you decide to take out your camera, observe how the landscape is affecting your emotions. Do you feel at peace in the scene? Is it dark and moody? Are you in awe of the magnificence of nature? Does the scene feel expansive and give you a feeling of insignificance? Or is it intimate, like you are the first person to ever see this moment in time?
In landscape photography, if you can find an element that causes you to respond emotionally to the scene, then your photographs will have a better chance of communicating that emotion, In addition, your viewers will feel more engaged with your work.
If you want your audience to relate to your landscape photographs, then you need to first understand your subject. If you have a favorite place you like to photograph, go there again and again. Study the lighting, the weather patterns, and the seasons. Practice your craft under the same conditions and see how the subject changes over time and conditions.
Originality can be difficult to achieve in landscape photography, especially when you are first learning your craft. Imitating other photographers whom you admire is a great way to study a method, but it will not set your work apart. With practice, you will naturally bring your own unique impressions to your photographs, even if you are photographing the same subject as your peers.
As photographers, we can either subliminally or intentionally create compositions that are emotionally provocative. So, study photography composition and understand why it is important to use purposefully.
People respond to color based on their gender, cultural background, and personal experiences. How do certain colors make you feel? Do certain colors invoke emotion? Trust those emotions and work them into your photographs to tell a larger story. This is a deep subject, but in Western cultures, here are a few “rules” to consider.
I’ve written more about the subject of color on the Visual Wilderness blog, broken into three parts: Primary Colors, Secondary Colors, and the rest of the color wheel.
Classic works of art drip with symbology. The masters understood how to tap into the collective unconsciousness to stir and invoke emotions. You can bring deeper meaning to your work by training your eye to look for symbolic shapes in nature and working them into your compositions. Here are some examples.
These steps may seem like a lot to think about when you are simply trying to take landscape photography images, so I recommend baby steps. Pick just one of these ideas and work it into your practice, then see if you can notice a difference in the quality of your work. Over time, you won’t need to think about composition or color. It will come naturally!
Charlotte Gibb is a contemporary fine art photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area specializing in landscapes of the Western United States. Her images are often taken in familiar places for the well-versed landscape photographer, but she prides herself on her keen an eye toward the subtle and sometimes overlooked beauty of the natural world. Charlotte earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and has exhibited her work in several solo shows throughout California. Her darkroom, long gone now, has been replaced with digital darkroom tools, and her style has evolved from a somewhat journalistic approach, to one that pays tribute to the natural world.