Creating feeling in a landscape photograph

One of the things I’ve been trying to improve in my landscape photography recently is creating a sense of feeling in the image.

We always capture what a place looks like when we create an image, but a photograph can convey so much more than that. The real magic is capturing and conveying the feeling of a scene. From a bright, warm landscape that invokes feelings of happiness, to a dark and mysterious foggy woodland scene that brings about more ominous emotions, there are a number of tools that we, as photographers, can use to enhance our images.

Lens choice, shutter speed, depth of field, metering, white balance and more can all be utilised to reveal the elements of a scene that convey emotions. Furthermore, we can use post-processing techniques to emphasise these features, to really bring the viewer into the image and help them to feel like they were there. It’s even possible to create a vibe that wasn’t acutally present at the location when you took the shot!

I think being able to add this extra dimension to a photograph is one of the differences between good landscape photography and great landscape photography. I don’t always manage it, but I always try to bring a bit of the atmosphere I experienced when taking the shot, into my final image.

Here’s a shot from Stonehaven, taken on a cold, rainy morning in January, last year. Technically, it’s a terrible image, but I do think it gives a good sense of how the place felt at that moment in time.

Stonehaven coast on a cold and wet morning

At some point in the near future, I’ll probably make a video on this subject, so watch this space!

3 responses to “Creating feeling in a landscape photograph”

  1. Paul Cook says:

    Great read Robert! I struggle with this question as well. With the amazing technology (huge camera sensors, 3K video, HDTV, etc) that we have, our eyes are trained for crystal clear images. I’ve taken some images where I’ve applied the Ortan Effect but ended up scrapping it because it takes away from the sharpness of the original photo. But when it really comes down to it, the weather that I like to photograph the most is the moody, stormy weather and tack sharp image isn’t always possible. If it’s a.choice between mood and the feeling of the scene vs sharpness, give me the mood every time!

    • Rob says:

      Thanks Paul. I know what you mean – the pursuit of sharpness becomes an obsession! I think you get some great mood and atmosphere in your shots though – particularly, as you say, your storm images. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

  2. Paul Cook says:

    Sorry, obviously that should have said 4K video!

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