7 Impressionistic Landscape Photography Tips for Beautiful Images

8 Impressionistic Landscape Photography Tips for Wonderful Images

tips for impressionistic landscape photography

Impressionistic landscape photography uses an amount of fun techniques to achieve an impressionistic – that is, the painterly – effect.

But how will you get started? And once you know the basic principles, how can you improve your impressionistic shots?

In this article, We share some of the most common processes for impressionistic landscape photos, in addition to plenty of tips and tricks to help you get the best possible results. By the time you’re completed, you’ll have a whole arsenal of tools to use in your pictures (and you’ll hopefully end up being inspired to capture a few impressionistic shots of your very own! ).

Let us dive right in.

1 . Use bokeh to create magical backgrounds

Bokeh refers to the out-of-focus portions of an image. Several photos are full of beautiful bokeh, like this one here (note the particular powerful background blur):

flower with blurry background bokeh
Canon 70D   | 55mm | f/2. 8 | 1/6400s | ISO 400

Whereas other photos – especially epic landscape shots – tend to avoid bokeh completely.

Whether or not a photo should include prominent bokeh is an artistic choice, so there’s no right or wrong approach – but by deliberately including bokeh inside your photos, you can create uniquely impressionistic effects.

To capture the most powerful bokeh, you’ll need to arranged your lens to the widest aperture (ideally f/2. 8 or beyond). You must also get close to your issue and use a telephoto lens (if possible).

Keep in mind that different lenses generate different bokeh effects, so if you don’t love the results you are getting, consider switching lenses. Also note that you can produce custom bokeh shapes with fun DO-IT-YOURSELF filters .

2 . Don’t be afraid of blur

Photographers generally try to capture tack-sharp images…

…yet did you know that you can create stunning impressionistic landscape photography by encouraging , instead of avoiding, image blur?

The best blur takes the focus far from subject detail and instead gets the viewer to see designs, colors, and light. The results can be stunningly beautiful, specially when combined with vivid subjects or magical sunlight.

But how can you create stunning blur effects? You have two basic options:

First, you can dial in the slow shutter speed. After that, by carefully moving your own setup after pressing the shutter button, you can record beautiful blur effects due to camera motion. (I explore this option in more detail beneath. ) You might also try photographing moving subjects with a slow shutter speed ; these subjects can create stunning impressionistic lines as they zoom by.

Second, you can intentionally misfocus your lens. This way, the main subject of your picture goes out of focus, and the viewer sees a pleasing obnubilate effect. Note that you’ll want to use a wide aperture, like f/2. 8, to maximize the particular blur.

(Here, I highly recommend you use manual focus rather than autofocus. Switch your lens over to the manual focus option, then turn the focus ring till your subject becomes an attractive blurry blob! )

3. Create a smooth effect

When i discussed in the previous section, the best, most impressionistic images rely on deliberate obnubilate .

But in certain cases, obnubilate can be a little too experimental.

If you find that will you’re not a huge lover of blur or that blur isn’t working for a particular subject, I recommend you attempt to create a soft effect rather. That way, you’ll still obtain that nice, ethereal seem – but you won’t reduce too much subject detail.

You can get a soft effect in a couple of ways. Initial, you can move from a very cold to a very warm atmosphere (e. g., from an awesome hotel to a hot California street). The rapid modification in temperature will cause your lens to fog up, and you’ll have a few minutes to shoot soft photos prior to the fog dissipates.

That’s how I taken this next photo; I were only available in some cold, outdoor weather conditions, then I stepped into a warm butterfly greenhouse, which immediately fogged up my lens:

soft flower close-up

The problem, of course , is that you can’t always create the particular condensation effect (what would you do if you live in a very moderate climate? ), and even when you can, it doesn’t last very long. Plus, moisture can damage your equipment over time.

That’s why I suggest a simple alternative:

Buy a cheap UV filter .

Then cover it with vaseline!

When you mount it on your lens, you’ll obtain a beautiful soft effect.

4. Have fun with intentional camera movement

Deliberate camera movement is a greatly popular technique among impressionistic landscape professional photographers, and for good reason:

It looks amazing, it is easy to produce, and it allows for all sorts of different effects.

Simply dial in a slow shutter speed. Start in the area of 1/10s or so, though you can always experiment with other options.

Following, take a photo, but deliberately move your camera when you press the shutter button. (You can also try zooming your lens for specifically explosive results. )

Depending on the length of your shutter speed, you can create short streaks of color – or you can create lengthy, abstract lines. And by deciding on different subjects, you can have fun with stunning color results, tonal effects, and much more.

Note that intentional camera movement tends to get better the more you try it. If you don’t find great results at first, don’t give up; instead, keep trying out the technique. Eventually, you’ll be able to (somewhat) predict the result of different camera movements, and you’ll start to gain control over the process.

5. Add blur in post-processing

creating blur in post-processing

If you’re uncomfortable blurring your photos in camera, or you just want to apply blur results to images you’ve already taken, then why not then add fun effects in post-processing?

Note that you don’t need elegant editing software to create blur. Most photo-editing programs have at least one tool that allows you to definitely blur your images, and you can definitely get great results simply by playing around with a clarity, structure, or blur slider within Lightroom, Capture One, Luminar, and so on.

Having said that, if you want to get really innovative, I do recommend you buy a processing program that lets you customize your blur settings and that offers multiple blur tools. For instance, Photoshop functions multiple blur methods in the Filter> Blur menu. There are also additional options in the Filter> Blur Gallery toolset.

6. Add fresh filters when post-processing

adding filters in Photoshop

Some editing programs offer filters that create beautiful – and often crazy – artistic effects. That are great for impressionistic landscape photography.

For instance, Photoshop has a big filter gallery, and you can overlap effects by working on multiple layers . Try using various artistic filter systems, such as Paint Daubs plus Sponge. Then play around with various layer opacity levels unless you get the perfect impressionistic outcome.

You can also create interesting impressionistic effects making use of apps on a phone or even tablet. The Google Arts and Tradition app enables you to apply filters from various artworks or artistic periods to your photos (so use effects taken directly from the Impressionists! ). Prisma is another great app that’ll turn your standard photos into impressionistic art with a handful of simple clicks.

7. Blend photos based on a perspectives

Here is another post-processing impressionistic technique you can try with any landscaping subject:

Take several images of the same scene, then blend all of them together for a painterly appearance, like this:

combining multiple images from different perspectives

What’s cool about this technique is that you can make the impressionistic effect as subtle or extreme as you like. And while I actually do this in Photoshop, that can be done it in any editing software that uses layers (including Affinity Photo and even Luminar Neo).

To get started, select a subject, such as a forest, a waterfall, a windows vista, etc . Then take multiple photos and be sure to change your perspective with each one. With regard to smaller subjects (e. g., trees), you can simply walk inside a circle, taking a photo each few feet. For larger subjects (e. g., the mountain), adjust your angle, get high, get low, and so on. Just do whatever you can to mix it up.

Once you’ve used your photos, transfer these to your computer. Then open Photoshop and select File> Scripts> Load Files in to Stack . This will open all the photos as various layers in the same record.

Next, you need to blend all of the layers into one impressionistic landscape photo . Reduce the opacity of each layer, which will include transparency and allow the bottom images to bleed through. I like to work between 10% plus 60% opacity, but feel free to experiment (though be sure to maintain the bottommost image at completely opacity).

Finally, fine-tune the effect simply by adjusting the layer purchase, turning different layers unseen, and even changing the blend modes . Really, it’s all about having fun and creating the most impressionistic effect!

8. Add a strong Orton Effect

The Orton Effect is a technique which involves blending two photos – one sharp, one blurred – for an ethereal, glow-like result:

Orton Effect scene impressionistic landscape photography

When used with subtlety, it could add a bit of painterly flair to your landscape photos (for this reason, it’s a technique commonly used by the pros, although it’s often so dialed back that you won’t also notice! ).

But you can also use the Orton Effect to create heavily impressionistic photos. Just crank up to the extreme.

Now, there are several different ways to make this work, and the information will depend on your post-processing system, but here are the basic simple steps:

  1. Upload your image into a layer-based editing program.
  2. Duplicate the original image (so you have a bottom layer as well as a copy layer).
  3. Brighten the copy layer with an exposure adjustment.
  4. Add some Gaussian blur to the copy coating.
  5. Blend the two images together for an impressionistic look!

The intensity of the Orton Effect primarily depends on the amount of Gaussian blur you use, therefore be sure to experiment (and do not be afraid to raise and decrease the copy layer’s opacity! ).

I also recommend you get blend modes; these can create a huge difference. Start out with modes like Lighten, Soft Light, Multiply, and Display screen, all of which tend to create cool effects.

Impressionistic landscape photography: final phrases

Now that you have finished this article, you know the right way to capture some impressionistic works of art.

So head out with your camera! Get shooting!

Plus above all, enjoy yourself. Impressionistic landscape shots are all about having fun with the process.

At this point over to you:

Which of these methods do you plan to try initial? Do you have a favorite? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

Ana Mireles

Ana Mireles

is a photographer and artistic researcher. She has been honored and exhibited in Mexico, Italy, and the Netherlands. Through theory and practice, the girl explores the cultural facet of photography, how it helps all of us relate to each other, the world, and ourselves. She has also an interest for teaching, communication, and social media. You can find more about the girl and her work at her site or acquire some of the girl works here .

I need help with…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.