One “Crucial Concept” Every Landscape Photographer Should Know

Chris Perea is an acclaimed Arizona-based pro known for stunning images of the American Southwest. In the tutorial below he reveals an important secret to his success, which he says is “the one crucial concept every landscape photography should know.”

As Perea  explains, “the biggest challenge in creating impactful landscape images is overcoming one major obstacle: you’re capturing a three-dimensional scene with natural depth and separation, and placing it on a flat two-dimensional sheet of photo paper or computer screen.”

In the video below Perea demonstrates how to replace that missing depth and dimension to create images that jump off the page. He begins with a discussion of light and atmospheric conditions, noting that “we can’t control these variables but there are ways to use them to advantage.

Perea also demonstrates how to create separation between your primary subject, the background, and other objects of a scene. This provides added depth for more compelling images—especially if you pay close attention to the colors and range of brightness in the frame.

While conventional wisdom is that a viewer’s eyes are attracted to the brightest portion of a photo, Perea insists this is a misconception. His view is that, “it’s actually more accurate to say eyes are drawn to the highest contrast areas of an image, and you should and expose and compose photos accordingly.

There are several other helpful suggestions for landscape photos with maximum impact, including what Perea refers to as “the holy grail of landscape photography”—namely, low clouds and fog. Use these elements properly and you’re pretty much guaranteed to capture a money shot. By taking these tips to heart, along with the other suggestions Perea provides, your landscape imagery will rise to the next level.

Be sure to visit Perea’s YouTube channel after watching this lesson, where you’ll discover more great tips and tricks.

And don’t miss another insightful tutorial we posted recently, with everything you need to know for shooting epic urban landscape photos in a town near you.