Landscape photography is one of my favourite forms of photography, where you get to be out in the fresh air, capturing the beauty of mother nature. I thought it deserved more than I would typically write for a 30 Day Photography Challenge Post, so there’s 10 top tips for you today – Enjoy.
Deep Depth of Field
Landscape photography usually stretches out for as far as the eye can see, so to make sure you capture this as best as you can, then I find it’s best to use a narrow aperture, which will produce a deep depth of field. Usually anywhere from around f/11-f/22 works best for me.
If you’re using a narrow aperture, then there’s going to be a lot less light entering your camera, so the best thing to counteract this, is to use a tripod and a longer shutter speed. If you’re using a tripod and there’s nothing moving in your scene, then this will fix any motion blur from longer exposures needed to account for the narrow aperture.
This is also good for finding a composition you like, and then sticking to it.
I often waste money on photography gear which either doesn’t get used, or falls apart because I went for the cheap option. Not with my tripod though. I spent about £250 on this tripod, and it was worth every penny. A worthwhile investment for every photographer.
If you’re using a narrow aperture, then your depth of field should be nice and deep so this isn’t too important. I find it’s best to focus around two thirds of the way into the frame.
Don’t forget about shallow depth of field though, this can be just as useful.
High vs. Low Horizon
This is one of my favourite photography tips. What is so interesting about your photo? Ask yourself that.
A boring sky has no place in the photo so think before you shoot. If the ground it more interesting, then use a high horizon. If the sky is more interesting, then use a low horizon. If they’re about the same then go for a 60/40 split. Try not to cut your photo in half by placing the horizon in the middle.
Wait for the Weather
My favourite time to shoot landscapes is right after it has rained. The sun is shining through a scattering of clouds and this produces a really interesting dynamic to the ground below.
Stormy clouds brewing are also really interesting to shoot as their texture is often ominous and unusual.
Foreground, Midground, Background
There’s more to a good landscape photography than just some mountains in the background. Think about what you could include in the foreground and midground too.
This will provide a good sense of depth to your photo, and ultimately keep your viewers looking at the photo for a longer period of time. So long as you don’t completely overdo it with too many points of interest, this will make your photo more interesting.
This is the hour right before the sun goes down, and right after it comes up.
It’s called the golden hour because the sun is low in the sky and shines a golden light across the ground.
This sideways light casts shadows over part of the ground, and much like how intermittent clouds allow some light through, this has much the same effect. The contrast is vastly improved and the texture is much more apparent.
Paths are an excellent way of leading the eyes of the viewer, as they’re typically lines that our eyes will naturally follow.
Natural paths, whether they’re beaten into the ground, man made, or implied (perhaps with the use of a valley) are often found in landscape photography, and I find it’s best for them to be placed in the scene so that they’re going into the distance, and not from one side to another.
I can’t talk about landscapes without talking about panoramas, this is what panoramas were made for. This is good for a couple different reasons. When you’re standing at the top of a hill, looking down at the view below you, sometimes the wide-angle lens just isn’t enough. Often I will find myself out with just a single prime lens, and this is typically a 35mm or 50mm lens, which isn’t so great for landscapes, so by switching to panorama, I can capture much more.
If you’re shooting panoramas, then rotate your camera to portrait to capture more of the ground and sky.
Unfortunately, a large aspect of good landcape photography comes from having a lot of patience. The world doesn’t operate to your schedule; you can’t make the sun and clouds move to where you want them. If you really want to pursue landscape photography, then you’ll start to find yourself waiting outside, on your own, at stupid hours, in the cold, for hours on end. It’s the nature of nature. Plan what you want to capture, and when would be best to capture it. Then arrive about an hour early.
If you would like to keep track of the 30 Day Photography Challenge, come on over to my Facebook, Twitter and/or Pinterest, and share your photos with me and the rest of the community. The best ones will be included in these posts. Alternatively, you can leave a comment below. (Note: if you’re linking from Facebook, be sure to ‘copy image address’).
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