Landscape photography styles

Landscape photography: Description and styles

As in painting, in photography, landscapes have been a constant theme throughout history. Landscapes are an inanimate, static and affordable photographic subject. In addition, they are one of the least controversial and most permanent issues, since the same landscape may be different depending on the time of the year, the weather, the angle from which we photograph it and the frame we choose. But the appeal of this type of photography goes further because even without having a camera, or a canvas on which to capture them, landscapes have the ability to convey emotions.

They can be romantic, bucolic, make us feel sorry, or infuse us with a feeling of lightness that makes us relax. In landscape photography we find different styles framed in descriptive, impressionist and abstract modalities. Let's briefly define each one of them:

Romantic style: It is probably the most used style. It is based on photographs in which a certain amount of blurring and subsequent lighting is usually introduced. It is also very common to use a high ISO, and a shallow approach. One of the leading photographers of this style was Ansel Adams, who is also considered the most famous landscape photographer.

Descriptive style: It does not have as many concrete elements as the romantic style. The highlight of this type of Colorado landscape photography is a careful composition and extreme attention to detail. It is characterized by not including any type of manipulation so that reality is embodied in the most reliable way possible. It belongs to the field of direct photography, without any artifice, which highlights the work of Edward Weston.

Graphic / abstract style: This is a style in which you try to reduce the landscape to something simple, sometimes even minimalism. It consists in extracting the graphic essence of a scene in the best possible way. Some visual expertise is required to get good graphic and also the use of the best cameras for landscape photography.

Environmental style: It arises as a method of protest against environmental degradation due to pollution. It is promulgated mainly by the Sierra Club and Audubon Society, in whose publications we find photographs of landscapes of great beauty, which are used to make people think about the possibility of something like this being lost. There is also a variant, which shows desolate landscapes, destroyed due to pollution or human action. One of the greatest exponents is Robert Adams.

Manipulative style: It is probably the least common. In this style some objects are added to the landscape itself, either by including them in reality, or by manipulating the image in a postprocessed whether digital or analog. John Pfahl and Jerry Uelsmann are two of the photographers who have best managed to deal with this subject.

Controlled style: Landscapes are usually photographed illuminated by natural light. In this style, they are usually photographed illuminated with artificial light so that most of the time the night shots are taken.


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