How to Focus on Compositional Elements in Photography

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In shooting landscapes on location, how do you decide what to shoot? In this video, landscape photographer, Adam Barker, takes you to a beautiful canyon in Utah’s Alpine Loop in the Wasatch Mountains, and explores compositional elements in photography.

To search for photo opportunities, Adam drives along the mountain road until he spots a scene that speaks to composition, depth, and color. Framing the scene in his mind, he positions himself looking down canyon toward Cascade Peak. To help pre-visualize your own landscape shot, he recommends wearing polarized sunglasses. You will learn to study the background, mid-ground, and foreground elements and how they are separated by color, contrast, shape, texture, and lighting. These comprise the compositional elements in photography. “The goal is to create depth,” he explains, “taking a 3-dimensional scene and placing it on a 2-dimensional medium.”

For his scenic photograph, Adam uses the LB Combo Polarizer Filter, which combines a warming polarizer with a color intensifying filter to bring out the reds and oranges, and he adds a 2 Stop Soft Step filter for separation of highlights and shadows. He shoots several compositions, varying the filter adjustments, in order to achieve the final, best shot. Later, he adds a 2 Stop Hard Step filter to better capture the sky colors. The goal is to visually define the transition between the compositional elements in photography. He keeps his focal length locked in at f/16 but varies his shutter speeds to allow for different choices. The final result is an image of great depth, from foreground prairie grass to windswept trees, onto the shaded ridge line in the back, and finally to the distant mountains under dark clouds.

Journey into the Alpine Loop with professional shooter, Adam Barker, for ideas on how to use filters to aid in the compositional elements in photography.

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MORE IN THIS COURSE:

Completing your Outdoor Photography with Landscape Filters – Course Preview
Shooting with Filters at Bells Canyon
Photographing American Fork Canyon
Photographing in the Early Morning Light
Photographing Cascade Peak
How to Focus on Compositional Elements in Photography
Shooting with a Grad ND Filter
Fall Foliage Photography Tips and Techniques
Photographing Wildlife: Strategies and Techniques
How to Photograph Reflections
Landscape Photography: Shooting Grass
Capturing Photos at Dusk
Tips for Best Photographing Moonrise
Fly Fishing Photography Tips and Techniques
Shooting with Filters in the Late Dawn Light
Tips for Shooting an Iconic Sunrise
Photographing Outdoor Stock Shots