We’ve all engaged in landscape photography at some point in our lives. Think about it. If you have a camera, you’ve most likely taken a photograph of some piece of nature outdoors. Whether it be a lake or a mountain or a field, it’s all nature and it’s all landscape. And if you’re reading this post right now, I’m guessing you’re somewhat into photography and you want to learn more. That’s good because that’s why I’m writing. To offer a few tips that will hopefully help pave the way for you.
In this post, I’d like to offer seven very simple tips that I hope will enhance your landscape photography. While these tips are very straightforward to read about and learn, it’s important to remember them before you go out for a shoot. Either that or write them down so you can review them in the field. It’s so easy to review these types of things on the internet, head outdoors with your camera, and then forget all about them. You need to go out with a plan in mind for what you’d like your photographs to look like.
Use the Rule of Thirds
Most of of us probably already know what this is. If not, here goes. The Rule of Thirds basically states that if there’s a prominent object in your scene, set it to one of the intersections of an imaginary tic-tac-toe board that’s overlaying the same scene. so if someone is standing in a field, offset them so they’re not standing directly in the center of the field when you take the photo. Move the camera to the side a bit so they’re off-center. This will create a more balanced photograph.
Use People to Demonstrate Scale
I fall victim to overlooking this tip all the time. I’ll head out into the woods and take photos of a giant tree or a huge waterfall and when I display the images on social media, people ask what the big deal is. I tell that that the tree was “huge” or the waterfall was “giant.” No one seems to care. Now, if I had someone stand in a strategic location near one of these elements, I’m sure my photo would have a much greater impact.
Pay Attention to Reflections
If you’re taking photos of a lake, remember the reflection. How many times have you seen one of those absolutely gorgeous landscape photos of a lake and some mountains and were blown away by it? If you look back at each of those photos and pay close attention to reflections, I’m sure you’d see that they played a large role in each one. Never underestimate the reflection. It can make or break a photo. Use them and make them a primary aspect of your images.
Capture the Movement
Playing with shutter speed to capture movement in landscape photos can make an enormous difference in an otherwise stale or just “okay” shot. Think about it. How many times have you simply used your camera’s Auto mode to take a picture of a stream? I’m sure quite a few. Now, how many times have you set your camera up on a tripod, turned your camera to shutter priority of about three seconds and then captured your image? I’m guessing not as much. When it comes to moving water or night photography, definitely take advantage of those longer shutter speeds. They can completely transform an image for the better.
Remember Your Lens Filters
Lens filters are very inexpensive these days and there’s really no reason not to own one of these less expensive sets to experiment with. I personally love taking advantage of the magnifying filters for macro photography and the neutral density filters for the long exposure shots I mentioned above. If it’s a nice sunny day, I’ll attach the polarizing filter to the end of my lens for some extra color in my landscape shots. There’s a lot of creativity to be taken advantage of when it comes to these things, so be sure to keep them close-by in your camera bag.
Use a Wide-Angle Lens
This one is a no-brainer. If you don’t own a wide-angle lens and you plan on taking an interest in landscape photography, I encourage you to start shopping for one. After you try one, you most likely won’t want to remove it from your camera body any time soon. I get addicted to mine. It grabs so much more content than I would ever have gotten with a regular zoom lens. I own the Sigma 10-20mm wide-angle lens and I think I paid about $300 for it, so they can be competitively priced if you’re not looking for the best lens available. But the results, oh my.
Small Aperture For a Clear Shot
When taking landscape shots, it’s important to create as much depth in your photos as possible, meaning, have the entire scene in focus. In order to do this, you’ll either need to use a small aperture size (anywhere from F/22 to F/32) or you can use a wider aperture, take multiple shots and then take advantage of the focus stacking technique. I actually suggest you use the focus stacking technique because that will allow you to capture the clearest photos as possible by using a larger aperture. Small apertures can create softer images and this is never desirable. The point is that the images needs to be in focus from front to back. How you get there is less important.
I hope you enjoyed these very brief landscape photography tips. If you have any of your own that you’d like to share, please add them below. Thanks for reading!