Too often, though, photographers automatically split landscape or seascape images into equal halves, with the horizon line or maybe a distant shoreline extending right across the middle of the frame. The viewer, then, is left to decide which half of the scene is most important. But that’s for you - the photographer - to decide when composing your image!
Rather than automatically cutting the composition in half, stop and ask yourself: Which is more important, the landscape (or waterscape)? Or the sky?
Exceptions Can Be the 'Rule'
Occasionally, splitting the composition roughly in half is the best choice. This mostly involves water reflections, when the scene above is just as compelling as the reflection below. Giving equal weight to both elements helps capitalize on the eye-catching blend of symmetry and serenity. Other times, you may want to leave out the sky entirely. Sometimes, this is when a bright white canopy envelops the sky on an overcast day, since the stark brightness can overwhelm everything else in the scene. Other times, you may simply want a tighter composition that puts all the emphasis on a landscape or waterscape, without any visual competition from the sky.
About Author / Instructor / Photographer, Kerry Drager
Be sure to check out Kerry's Pro BetterPholio website - www.kerrydrager.com.
Also, he is the author of Scenic Photography 101, the photographer of the photo-essay books The Golden Dream: California from Gold Rush to Statehood and California Desert , a contributor to the books BetterPhoto Basics and Daybreak 2000, and a co-photographer of Portrait of California. In addition, Kerry was profiled in the April 1994 issue of Outdoor Photographer magazine and in Vik Orenstein's 2010 book The Photographer's Market Guide to Building Your Photography Business, and his website was showcased in the January 2003 issue of Shutterbug magazine. Plus, his work has appeared in magazines, Hallmark cards and Sierra Club calendars, and in advertising campaigns for American Express and Sinar Bron Imaging.
Kerry lives with his wife, Mary, on California's Central Coast, with their three Newfoundland dogs, four cats, and a mixed terrier.