Creating Depth in a Landscape Photo

The nature of our two eyes and their placement means we automatically perceive depth or distance when we look at a scene. But our cameras have only one eye---the lens. So to create the illusion of depth in our scenic pictures, we have to employ some visual tricks.

One of the most effective is to frame a scene so that it contains a close subject, a middle subject and a distant subject. Reveling these three "layers" by adjusting our camera position helps create the impression of depth or distance in the scene.

Using a wide-angle lens, place it close to your foreground subject. Raise the camera slightly above this subject so the middle ground is visible. Then optionally tilt the camera down slightly to prevent having too much sky in the shot.

24-105mm lens at 24mm
1/100 second, f/18, ISO 1600

In this photo taken at sunrise on Lake Tahoe in California , the lupine flowers are my foreground subject. The sand and reflection of the sunlit mountains in the water act as the middle subjects. And the mountains and sliver of sky above them are the background subject.

Get help applying these techniques while you're shooting in Photography in the Field class, beginning Thursday, May 30, 2019, at 6:30pm at the Lifelong Learning Center in Missoula, Montana. Click here to register.