Landscape photography is one of the most popular niches of photography. Its goal is to capture the beauty of our surroundings while bringing the viewer into the photo.
Whatever you find in front of you and your camera is a landscape. Be it a stormy sea, a frosty forest or a sky-piercing tower, there is a way for you to capture it.
In this guide, we will show you the best articles about taking stunning landscape photos.
What Equipment Do You Need for Landscape Photography
Many things can help you achieve that brilliant landscape shot. Camera, wide-angle lenses, tripods, polarising filters, and other accessories are particularly important.
We will show you the best equipment to assist your landscape photography adventures.
Landscape photography requires different things from your camera than other photography niches.
Your camera needs to capture as much detail as possible and perform at a high resolution. At the same time, you need to be able to use the dynamic range and know how to take advantage of your DSLR camera’s sensor.
All these play a part in getting the best from your landscape photos.
The cost of lenses can range from $200 to $2000 and you might think that the higher the cost, the better the lens is. This is true most of the time. But there are also other factors you need to take into account.
All types of lenses follow different requirements. Some focus on light, others on chromatic aberrations and other unwanted effects.
For landscape photography, we’re usually looking for a specific lens. One with a wide-angle and great level of sharpness at narrow apertures.
Most expensive does not always mean best. Sometimes the cheapest lens can be amazing. The article above will give you the tools you need to choose the best one for yourself.
Landscape photographers’ priority should be a tripod. It is a very necessary piece of equipment for capturing those detailed shots.
When choosing a tripod, look for three features: sturdy, solid and lightweight.
Sturdy because it will need to deal with elements such as dirt and rain while being knocked around. Solid so that it keeps your camera still while capturing that shot. And lightweight because you don’t want any extra weight holding you down.
For me, a tripod needs to be as versatile as the camera. It should allow me to either change the head or at least be able to shoot both portrait and landscape.
It should also be easy to set up and use so that you do not miss any quick changes in the surrounding areas.
Stunning landscape photography isn’t only about focusing on your photographic kit. It’s also about getting to the best place to take photographs.
Your apparel choice is very important to help you work in harsh environments. You shouldn’t forget to grab some gloves and thermal shirts to keep you warm. Hiking boots and a rain jacket will help keep you dry.
There are other helpful things you could bring along, such as a good, ergonomic bag. The article above will go through them all.
Lens filters are very beneficial for landscape photos when used correctly. And the best part is that there’s a filter for everything!
- The UV (ultraviolet) filter is the most known. Its purpose has changed over the years from a necessity (film) to useless (digital)
- The ND (neutral density) filter decreases shutter speed for those long exposure shots
- The GND (graduated neutral density) filter helps average out the huge difference between sky and landscape
- And Polarised filters help to cut out glare and reflections
A neutral density filter pulls overly-abundant light out of the scene you want to capture. This helps you correctly expose photos with slower shutter speed.
A graduated neutral density filter is like an ND filter. It is an ND filter on one end, ranging from transparent to full-filter in a gradient. These are darkening one specific area of your scene.
The sky is the main reason why landscape photographers should use one of these filters. You will find that the sky is much lighter than the landscape or cityscape that you want to photograph.
A graduated ND filter will pull out the light, adding detail to that brighter area. This creates a more correctly exposed scene. This is instead of having an area one or two stops lighter than the others.
Read our article here on how to use them.
Camera Settings for Landscape Photography
JPEG and Raw use the same number of pixels but the file size of the Raw is about 5 times bigger than JPEG.
That additional file size comes from the image data that the Raw file keeps and JPEG discards. This extra data allows you to get so much more range from exposure, colour and white balance in post-production.
Shooting in Raw isn’t as fast as JPEG. You’ll also need special software to make the most of the Raw images. But the result is definitely worth it.
Histograms are a step closer to becoming more professional in your workflow. They’re a mathematical review of how even your exposure is.
Using the LCD screen to determine how your highlights and shadows look can be misleading. This will depend on the available ambient light. The histogram is a clear indicator of under or overexposure, so it is helpful to use.
You’ve seen it on almost every camera made in the last 50 years. A small icon of a person in a frame indicates a portrait and an icon of a mountain for landscape.
Fortunately, we have moved forward into a more refined age. These modes have turned into something useful. Av/A (Aperture Priority) and Tv/S (Shutter Priority).
Your Landscape photography can be immensely helped by Av/A mode. It lets you concentrate on exposure while keeping the chosen aperture.
Now that you have all the equipment to get around in the great outdoors, you can move on to capturing the image.
Your aperture, shutter, and ISO all work together to give you that perfect exposure. This means not overexposing the highlights and underexposing the shadowy areas.
The in-camera metering modes are there to help you get as close as possible to the correct exposure. The shooting and focus modes help you highlight what the most important part of the image is. It then helps to keep it in the best possible light.
Panoramas are a great way to show one spectacular view from a very wide angle.
They are perfect from heights if you want to show everything from the same perspective. Especially if you can’t make up your mind over which angle to shoot from.
You can capture a panorama shot from any lens and a tripod. With a little help from post-processing, you can create an iconic, memorable image. This article will show you how.
Types of Landscape Photography
There is nothing better than being outdoors when you see the sun is setting. The sky lights up with colours you never even thought existed.
You grab your camera, aim, and shoot but it doesn’t quite come out how you envisioned it.
Here there are some great tips on why it is worth getting up early. This article will help to make sure you’re never unprepared for sunrise photography.
The sunset provides the golden hour at the end of the day. This is great as you don’t need to get up early, and you can see when the sun will fall much easier.
Our article has five great tips on how to photograph a perfect sunset picture. Like most landscape photos, planning is paramount. This can be easily done with smartphone apps. Or even scouting the area beforehand.
Be patient. Practice as much as you can. You’ll soon find that all ideas fit together to help you create something stunning.
Photographs along the coastline and seascapes ARE landscape photographs. But they have their specific techniques.
You’ll more than likely be including the water in these shots. Here are some tips to make your coastline landscape photography captivating, dramatic and unique!
You can improve any area of photography with research. The research you should look at here is about the tide and swell of the water.
The weather forecast is essential in this field. It will let you know when the tide is in or out. Some landscape areas will only work when the tide is out, revealing more of the landscape. This could turn a good image into a great one.
No matter where you are, there are general landscape photography rules that apply. Things such as composition, perspective, and framing are all key.
Photographing in a forest has its own extra set of challenges. You have to deal with the topographic element the forest offers. You’ll find less available light and a possibly changing landscape.
You’ll need patience, practice, and our tips. Then you’ll be able to improve your forest photography.
Creating black and white landscapes is a beautiful way to show the scenery. We look at black and white images in a different way than those in colour.
The monochromatic style lets us focus on the texture, shape, and contrast of a scene. Strong greens and blues can distract us and take importance away from the scene.
An image where the colours are not pleasing can be easily converted into black and white. They might help to create a more interesting landscape.
The desert is a great place to start with landscape photography. This is a landscape that rarely changes, so you can keep the same settings for long periods. This is good for practising.
Here, you can concentrate on shapes and forms of the area. Textures are also great things to look for, since us, the viewers will find them interesting.
Our article is your guide on the way of taking stunning desert pictures.
There are a few reasons why you would want to use longer shutter speed. You might want to achieve the correct light exposure where light is abundant. Or you may wish to remove unwanted clutter from images.
Slow shutter speed is also a great way to show movement when a still image is not enough.
Long exposure can be effective day or night. Long exposure can be effective day or night. You can shoot light trails of cars or capture lightning striking the Earth.
Night photography means incorporating the starry skies alongside the scenery. And it comes with its own set of challenges.
Nighttime landscape photography might mean using different techniques. Light is the biggest challenge to overcome. So you should focus on dealing with low light conditions. Fast apertures, tripods, and trial-and-error capturing are your best friends.
Our ultimate guide to nighttime photography will give you more tips. They aim to help you nail that perfect nighttime scenery.
Important Landscape Photography Tips and Techniques
Harsh weather conditions (such as stormy clouds), can bring atmosphere. A sense of drama is welcome in an otherwise dull image.
The weather can completely change the mood of the landscape. It can provide a completely different experience for the viewer.
Our article will show you how to take advantage of dramatic weather conditions.
There is a reason location is so ingrained in us photographers. It actually matters where you set yourself up to photograph.
Some photographers don’t share their list of landscape locations. Others share geotags through platforms like Flickr and Shot Hot Spot. You can also find locations with a little research.
There are even apps that help you visualize what the location will look like at a particular time of day. Sunlight and moon positions can give you all the information you need to find that great scene.
Not all landscapes are going to be huge, impressive expanses of forms and flows. You’ll come across areas that will be more minimal in their design. Capturing these situations can make some very impressive and interesting images.
This is also an area of landscape photography that you can create yourself. Simply changing your perspective can be enough to capture the scene in a ‘less is more’ manner. We have 10 of the best tips on how to capture minimalist landscape photography.
As a landscape photographer, you should go out at different times of the day. Before sunrise, before sunset, during nighttime, and all weather conditions.
The seasons are no different. That lake might be boring during the summer. But during the winter months, it turns into a frozen wonderland.
All those bare trees bloom during Spring and the sun becomes stronger. Each season has different benefits for photography. Here’s what you have to look forward to during each.
Winter is over. Things are growing again, and the sun starts to strengthen. Exploiting this newfound sun gives you shadows and a fresh look at recovering vegetation.
You can use these to focus your viewer’s attention on particular areas of your photo.
The weather conditions are also working in your favour. Fog and dew can help you to make better, more atmospherical images.
Spring photography can lead to some mystical, dreamy photos!
You would think that summertime photography is the easiest and most enjoyable. The sun is shining all day, everything’s in bloom and there’s not a cloud in the sky.
It becomes tricky if you want any definition and detail from clouds. Or if you don’t want to stay out until 10 pm waiting for the sun to finally dim a little.
Here you’ll find some tips on how to avoid the pitfalls of summer landscape photography. Instead, you’ll make great, memorable photos.
Fall is the season of colour. You can take advantage of all the beautiful scenery to create some stunning landscape pictures.
Isolating colours and using backlight on the foliage to make the colours pop. Or utilizing low angles to extend scenes and shapes are just a few ways to experiment with this season.
One of the trickiest things in photography is trying to get the correct light exposure. This is even worse in the winter because snow acts like a big reflector. Trying to photograph a white winter wonderland can quickly become nightmarish.
Using manual mode might give you a little more help than Av (Aperture Priority) or Tv (Shutter Priority).
Filters can also give you a little more room in moving closer to that perfect light reading.
This article shows you how to master winter’s extreme highlights and mid-tones. And how to make that blinding white snow work for you instead of against you.
Choosing between portrait and landscape orientation can be tricky. Luckily, when it comes to landscape photography, the solution is self-evident most of the time.
But there are a few things you should pay attention to when using landscape orientation. From what the emphasis is on to proper cropping, the list is long. You can also stand out with your landscape images by using portrait orientation.
In our article, we collected the most important factors to pay attention to.
One of the most basic ideas of composition is the rule of thirds. You should not locate everything interesting in the centre of the photograph.
If you draw imaginary lines a the thirds of the viewfinder, you create four intersections. These areas are ideal for making the photograph and the subject more interesting.
Our article goes into more detail about how you can use the rule of thirds to improve your photography.
We see horizons all the time, so much so that they sometimes disappear from our attention. Nonetheless, they are part of photo composition and something you should not overlook.
There are rules to follow to make that image stand out more. Especially when dealing with sea and sky, sky and land or with sea and land. To read more about these rules, check out our article about horizontal lines.
Depth in photography is an interesting concept. You take a 3D setting, you photograph it and it turns into something closer to 2D. It loses its depth in the process.
But there are ways to get it back and turn it into a more realistic image. Simple composition rules can help, such as the rule of thirds, leading lines, frames, etc.
Even your choice of lens affects the relationship between the objects in your frame.
This post will show you how to create depth in your photos so your vision is what your camera captures.
Leading lines are just that – lines that lead your eyes into the frame. Sometimes they lead your eyes out again. This will depend on the intention of the photographer.
They can take your viewer to what you want them to focus on. On top of that, they can guide them through the flow of a scene or setting. Or they can vanish into the distant horizon.
As a photographer, the choice is yours to make.
The simple way to ensure you can do landscape photography full-time is to find out how to make money from it. There are many ways to do so, so everyone can find something of value here.
One option to make money from landscape photography is to sell the pictures you take. This could be through prints of your landscapes to people who are looking for wall art. Perhaps using a stock photography website can be of use too.
Find out here how to sell your work and stay outdoors for as long as you wish.
Post-Processing Landscape Photography
Photography doesn’t end with the press of the shutter button. One of the most important parts of being a photographer is what you do after. With traditional film, we had dodging and burning.
Now we have countless programs and apps that make post-processing seamless and useful.
Here is how you can help change your landscape from a great shot into an amazing photograph.
You hiked for two hours, you climbed that mountain, and you’re finally setting up your shot. Until you take a look at your photos and that dreaded lens flare is taking up more space than the landscape.
You forgot your lens hood – yes, the one you looked at when you took the lens out of the box and then forgot about.
Follow our trick here and you’ll never have to deal with that pesky flare again.
Sometimes you read about graduated filters AFTER you already took the photo. You might need to fix the overexposure in the sky from that latest, impromptu beach shoot.
Or you might want to get rid of atmospheric haze in your latest city landscape.
Whatever it is you’re after, Adobe Lightroom has you covered. Here’s how to use graduated filters to save all those spontaneous photos!
Presets are the staple of any good Lightroom edit. Some come from Adobe. Enthusiasts also create some and share them with other photographers. Here are a few presets to fit into your Adobe Lightroom.
These will help you make the best of your photos!
Post-processing images through local adjustments can only get you so far. Sometimes, you need to add a ‘heavier hand’ to create the images you want. The Orton effect is useful in separating your landscape photography from the chaff.
For this, you’ll need Adobe Photoshop as you’ll need to create and duplicate layers. Once you have it, you’ll find its a quite easy process. But, it can take a while to master it in the way you want, without applying an ‘overcooked’ feel.
There is no doubt that shooting landscape can be challenging. There are general rules and tips you can follow. But always remember that the most important thing is to stay creative and experiment.
I hope that our photography tips will help you capture outstanding landscape photos.
Want More? Try Our Landscape Photography Course
Do you want to capture stunning landscapes every time you shoot?
I’ve developed a five-step process to capture stunning landscapes. It covers location scouting, weather, time of day, composition and camera settings.
I’ve outlined my process in this course.