Fields and plains are often overlooked in landscape photography, as they don’t have the same impact as mountains or water. But they can still provide wonderful photo opportunities and should be on a landscape or travel photographers shot list. Capturing great photos of these isn’t easy, but follow these 7 tips for photographing fields and plains to increase the quality of your shots.
Break The Monotony
The biggest challenge when photographing fields and plains is often how to avoid monotony, which can make the photo look dull and uninteresting. The best way to avoid this is to find a point of interest or something that will disrupt the scene. Not only will this make for a much more interesting photo, but it will tell a much better story that can often make the photo more attractive to prospective buyers. So always lookout for objects (either natural elements such and trees, rocks or manmade objects such as tractors and buildings or even animals) that can help add a point of interest to your photos.
Look For Patterns
This might sound like a contradiction to the above point, but there are also times when interesting patterns can also provide pleasing results. The big difference between these situations and the times where the photo would look dull without a point of interest is that the patterns themselves are interesting and capture the viewer’s attention. So look for lines or abstract patterns that might be interesting.
Think About The Horizon
Where you position your horizon is often imperative to how the final photo will look. If you have an interest foreground, place your horizon near the top of the image to make the most of the foreground. Or if you have an interesting sky and the foreground doesn’t have much interest in it place your horizon near the bottom to maximise the impact of the sky. Whatever you do try to avoid placing your horizon in the centre of the image. Try to incorporate your horizon using the rule of thirds.
Change Your Viewpoint
One of the great benefits of photography is that it allows us to see the world from a different view. Most people would view fields and plains at eye level. This gives a great opportunity to show people a completely different angle. Try getting really low and photograph from close to the ground. Or alternatively get up really high if possible by, for example, climbing a nearby hill or even the roof of your car (if safe to do so). But if you really want to show them a different view try to capture the photo from the sky whether that is a hot air balloon or a small plane. These types of photos will stand out, as it is something people don’t often see.
Do The Opposite
Most people imagine fields in summer or springtime with the sun shining and the crops and flowers in full bloom, or fields with hay bales and tractors. But some of the most memorable photos of fields are in the winter with frost or even snow on the ground. Suddenly a lone tree in amongst the white snow looks a lot more dramatic than that same lone tree with green grass around it. So don’t be afraid to sometimes flip the preconceived vision in your mind and photograph it at the complete opposite time you normally would. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised with the results.
Don’t Forget The Close-ups
Anytime you are photographing landscapes, it’s easy to be seduced by the grand vista before you and forget that sometimes it’s the small things that can also make for great images. Close-ups should be an absolute must for any location as they are often a glimpse into things that the naked eye can’t see or misses. Whether it’s a small bug, a flower or even a carving on a tree, make sure you keep your eyes open so that you can capture those unique close-ups. Not only will they make your portfolio more diverse, but you may also find that they sell well as stock photos.
Watch Your Shutter Speed
One of the big issues when photographing fields and plains is the wind that sways what is before you which in turn can mean you are unable to capture sharp photos. If it is very windy, unless you can photograph at an incredibly fast shutter speed you may not be able to freeze the action (even then you still might not be able to depending on the wind speed). But even a gentle breeze on a calm day can be enough to move crops so think about your shutter speed carefully. If you can’t freeze the action find a point of interest such as a building or a tree that will appear sharp in the photo to contrast against the movement of the crops or plants. Needless to say, if you are photographing with a slow shutter speed you’ll need a tripod.
Fields and plains are beautiful scenes to photograph and often lend themselves well to prints. So, if you can capture a good photo there is a good chance that you will make some sales from it. But capturing plains and fields can be challenging, so with practice and patience you can capture great photos that you’ll be proud of.
Photo credits: Kav Dadfar – All rights reserved. Dreamstime.