Sequence viewing > Aesthetics Index - Resource - © Lloyd Godman


Landscape subjects  -

However unlike the geometry of architecture in our cities, some landscape subjects can present a more randomized subject with few geometric shapes and lines to work with. They reference the frame in a more organic manner. Large areas of natural landscape are often visually chaotic have little aesthetic appeal, and it is with a sense of order we search for something to photograph. Fact is wilderness is largely visual chaos, so we look for visual order within this chaos based on our cultural aesthetic conditioning – this is where  the gestalt laws come in – look for subject matter that has these elements and you will produce images with visual impact -


In this image we have an organic irregular shape within the geometry of the camera frame.
The twisting trunk of the tree and the branches might have strong lines which the eye can follow  -  foliage might have intricate patterns,  bold clouds might form strange and wonderful shapes – sand and rocks might have strong patterns and texture.


Often landscape photographers will place something in the foreground like a rock, a fern or a tree trunk, rushing water or some other element. Sometimes they might get down close to the ground and include flowers or leaves just to give some accent in the foreground. Often the strongest line in a landscape is where land, water or sky meets  the other element – and it forms a horizon. The placement of these lines is crucial to the success of the image, yet so often we see the horizon of water and sky divide the frame through the centre. Or equal areas of land, ocean and  sky.  Another strategy is to frame the subject without a horizon.



 It is common for the aesthetically uninformed photographer to fill a large area of the frame with visually bland areas that don’t contribute to the image and produce predictably boring images – this might be a huge area of sky, an expanse of grass or sand at a beach. In this image the ocean and sky visually compete with each other.

When you frame such scenes ask how they contribute to the image – if the subject of the photo is the sky then  - make a feature from it. Other wise reduce it down so the emphasis falls on the element that you feel the image is about.

In this image of the same scene, the dark area of foliage frames the ocean - also look how the faint circles of lens flare in the sky on the right of the the first image have been framed out





Want to learn more? - do a workshop or one on one with Lloyd Godman