How to Use Juxtaposition for More Compelling Landscape Photography

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Juxtaposition – it’s one of my favorite words, and also one of the most important aspects of successful photography. It’s used in portraiture, outdoor adventure, and frequently in travel photography. In images of the landscape, however, juxtaposition is often overlooked.

I say overlooked because many photographers integrate juxtaposed elements in their landscapes without even being aware of them. You see, juxtaposition, or the way different elements conflict and contrast, is a key feature in most good landscape photographs.

Though there are a dozen or more different ways juxtaposition can occur in an image, in this article I’m going to concentrate on three; color, texture, and subject matter.

Using Juxtaposition for More Compelling Landscapes

Juxtaposition – Color

You are probably familiar with the color wheel. Likely you were introduced to the concept in grade school when you learned the difference between primary and secondary colors. More recently, if you have selected a new font color on your word processing program you’ve likely seen some form of the color wheel.

Simply, a color wheel shows the three primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) occupying three slices of the circle with all the mixing iterations of color blending together between them. The result is a continuous blur of colors, encompassing just about everything on the visible spectrum.

Using Juxtaposition for More Compelling Landscapes

Many landscape images will have multiple juxtapositions. In this case, color is foremost with the warm tones on the salt mounds against the deeper blues of the water and sky. But the shape and texture also stand out.

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