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long lens landscape

7 Building Blocks of Photography


Iceland-vik-sunset-snowLandscapes are shot with wide (short) lenses right? That’s the ‘rules’. Well have you ever asked yourself where rules like this come from? Who says so? If you have the ability to question conventional wisdom, find your own vision and not follow the herd you are starting to think like a photographer. You are starting to develop your own creative style.  

Why not shoot landscape with a long lens? Generally speaking a wide lens gets more of the scene in, have a feeling of closeness to the foreground and open up the space, making it look bigger. Fantastic if that’s what you want and there’s nothing wrong if it is.

But what if you don’t want to make the space bigger and get more of the scene into the image? What if you want to isolate part of the scene? And don’t forget longer lenses create an illusion of compressed perspective in an image by magnifying the background so it seems to come closer to the foreground.

Focal length and composition are best buddies because they work hand in hand to create the look you want in your image. They are the 3rd and 4th Building Blocks of Photography.

Asking yourself powerful questions as you shoot will help you find what you want from a location. And as you keep asking yourself is this what I want? How can I change how it looks? What would happen if I use a different focal length?

Put the answers into practise and you’ll begin to know instinctively what you need for a given situation. This is the corner stone of pre-visualising. Never be afraid to experiment.

So by shooting a landscape with a longer lens and shallow depth of field as in this video, we’re implementing disciplines normally associated with portraiture, such as shallow depth of field, bokeh etc.

And don’t forget cameras can be used vertically as well as horizontally for landscape photography and this is another aspect of composition. Ask yourself “What shape would work best for this scene”? Then maybe try both. Again we’re playing with what is often considered a ‘portrait’ discipline in ‘landscape’ photography.

Remember this won’t work for every landscape image and it may not be the effect you want or like. But it is an integral part of Thinking Like A Photographer to achieve the best possible results from a shoot.

It’s vital to understand the techniques and technicalities of photography such as light, shutter’s apertures, ISOs etc so you can tell the camera what to do. These are covered in the Ultimate Beginners Course.

To get what you want creatively you have to be able to put the techniques and technicalities together in a way that will achieve that, you must think it through one step at a time. For that you need The 7 Building Blocks of Photography.

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