6 In-Field Techniques to Create Depth in Your Landscape Photographs

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Why do you take photos of nature? To document the scene; to capture an incredible moment; to share how a place makes you feel? Chances are, it’s all of the above. And if you’re like me, photography also feeds your soul and helps you lose yourself in the moment. Regardless of what photography means to you, one thing is clear—communicating a 3D world through a 2D photograph boils down to how well you convey depth

Depth provides a visceral realism to images.  It tempts the viewer to look for a second longer, to explore and maybe even get lost in the photo.  Luckily, landscape photographers have a number of in-field techniques they can employ to add depth.  Today, I’ll share six of my favorites.

Atmosphere

Atmospheric elements like fog, snow and dust imbue images with mood, and can simplify the scene.  What I learned is that atmosphere also creates depth.

“(the mist) kills any distractions…it’s all diffused, like a painting.”  — Thomas Heaton.

Converging Lines (Wide Angle)

A wide-angle lens distorts parallel lines to appear as if they are converging on the distant horizon. Not only do these converging lines add depth, they also direct the viewer’s eye.

Big-to-Small (Wide Angle)

Similar to the effect above, a wide-angle lens can create a big to small transition from near to far.  Nearby objects appear larger that those further away.  Notice how the nearby branches are significantly bigger than those in the midground despite them being the same size physically.  This difference adds depth to the image.

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